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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  October 23, 2011 12:00am-7:00am EDT

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quakes as i depends on which sponsor and talking to you. if they want to reach women, i've got that. effrontery told people, i've got that. i mean, it's all different. you can do whatever you want with numbers. and whoever is behind the study, you know that old saying, usually hear what you want to hear when somebody talks. ..
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she just gave birth so she's been off a little while but did a tour across america to bring attention to this matter and what's the name of i think she had a term for the blue legacy is her website, thank you, and i would encourage people interested to check that out and you will see the results of her tour. she documented it and found a lot of the problems that exist across the country bringing attention and we are proud to have her on the team. >> i would only say that it is a
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huge subject and the way we cover it is across almost, you know, we have a beverage category that's relevant to that. we have an energy category. it's relevant to that. we have a resource category. a third category. so it extends across so many different topics. you don't want to limit it to just one finger and that's how we do it. thank you so much, everyone. [applause] >> for more on chaka and his work, visit chuckleavell.com. for the next seven hours we will be airing booktv live coverage of the 2011 book festival from earlier today. first, juan williams discusses his book muzzled followed by a viewer reactions to political debate in america. oct
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of 10.r, 2010 here on the bill o'reilly show bill is going through one of his risks of muslim 9/11 and you weigh in.ou you basically sort of at two lines you basically had two lines, two things you were trying to get across. first of all you describe that yourself could or did feel
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uncomfortable getting on an airplane and what did you follow that with? >> what i said was to set it up a little bit, muslims killed us on 9/11 and the context was an argument that he had had about a location of a mosque near ground zero and that is when he made the comment muslims killed us on 9/11 which prompted two co-host's to walked off the set. and he said i am just talking about radical islamists or muslims and then they came back. it became a little sensitive. it was in the papers the next day. when bill had his own show he had me as his guest and said after showing the tape of this tell me where i went wrong? that is what i said i am not going to play political correct games with you. the fact is the people who attacked us on 9/11 were muslims and cited their faces as
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justification for the act they were engaged in jihad. i went on to say this thing about -- let me tell you in all honesty with the heartfelt admission. to this day when i am getting on an airplane and the double-breasted muslim guard my mind first and foremost identifying themselves as muslims i get a little nervous. it makes me anxious. the second point that you offered me the opportunity to say that this is taken out of context. i went on to say america is a land of religious liberty and i would be upset if anybody would draw conclusions about my fellow christians on the basis of the actions of timothy mcveigh and we have to be careful not to stereotype people or encourage actions such as the minister in action who wanted to burn the koran. we should not be doing that. we have to be aware this anxiety exists in the american mind after 9/11. the fact that there is an
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indisputable connection between radical islam and terrorism in the world but at the same time we have to preserve american principles of independence, judging people as individuals and protecting their liberty, particularly religious liberty. >> some folks heard the first part and ignored the second. >> if it was just that i think it would be forgivable in my mind and i have to work on my own level of forgiveness but what it was was there are people who are invested in attacking and trying to make a larger point and they were willing to sacrifice me and my journalistic independence to do it. the council on american islamic relations cared, bit like the idea that anybody would engage bill o'reilly to their point and say i won't play games with you. i think you were right because our look at the facts of who were in those planes and use those airplanes as instruments of terror so that anybody giving
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any affirmation to bill at that moment they viewed as their enemy and they took that, and out of context and began a campaign on the basis of calling me a bigot. >> you got a phone call from npr. >> i have no clue that anything was going on and two days later i was asked the first question out of the box was what did you mean? i said i said what i meant. that is exactly what i meant and that was followed up with we have people who dress in muslim garb. that is an offensive bigoted statement. i never discriminated against anybody and was calling for discrimination. didn't say people should not be allowed on airplanes or nothing like that and you violated the journalistic standard of npr. whatever you say cannot be trusted by our audience. i set i worked here ten years.
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can't we have a conversation? you need to look at the entirety of the transcript to understand what was said was that in order to establish a level of trust and honesty and to make a larger point about religious liberty to which i was told there is nothing you can say or do that will change our mind. you are fired. >> you were fired over the phone. you could describe them as unfortunate comments about you that followed from the npr officials. >> yes. unfortunate. the thing about glenn is glenn is a pulitzer prize-winning reporter and is so droll. he said unfortunate. you don't want to reveal -- in this role when i am allowed to say outrageous comments suggesting whenever juan williams said should be kept between him and his
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psychiatrist. this is said by the head of npr in front of microphones and tv cameras. on two levels i find this bizarre. one is now i am mentally unstable and not to be trusted and marginalized and i don't see a psychiatrist. the second level is even if i was seeing a psychiatrist, what is wrong with that? that would be my business and has no relevance to the comments that i made. i thought it was an ad hominem attack and an effort to diminish my credibility and anybody who was watching -- >> they see you. >> look at that. >> you present this entire episode at the beginning of "muzzled: the assault on honest debate" but "muzzled: the assault on honest debate" goes on to make a strong argument about the dangers of stifling and honest debate and uses the
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opening argument but your argument on a whole array of issues and you go down from abortion to gun control to healthcare that we are not able to have a healthy debate because of the kinds of things that did you win at npr. >> that is right. i wanted to drive this point home because often when i do interviews about the book, we stop with the npr episode but that is only the first chapter of the book. 90% of the book is about larger condition of honest debate in american society and how this week is a year since this happened to me. but how in fact what i discovered is after feeling smeared and fired at her that this was about much more than me. this was about so many people would come up to me and say i have been in airports and had the same feeling, but people who come up to me and say it is hard to speak honestly in this
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country about so many things. they have to bite their tongues and are told you don't want to say that because someone might take it the wrong way or be offended or call you a bigot or a racist. that you are just at risk if you speak your mind in the current context. people say to me how can that be? i can turn on the radio and tv and i can hear the most outrageous comments being made by provocateurs and that is absolutely right. but the problem is for people who are trying to listen and to engage in honest conversation in which they might admit they were wrong or learn something from the other side there is a sense in which that is not allowed. i think that people are told there republican in name only if they vary from republican orthodox, they are told if you aren't with us you are against
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us. it seems to me that there are all these inhibitions placed on people. you stop and think about it in terms of you covered the middle east, people who will say you are not a good jew if you are questioning israeli policy or you are not sensitive to the palestinians if you say the palestinian behavior is terroristic and outrageous. all of a sudden -- that is an example where i think globally it is hard to have an honest conversation. >> you are even being handed here -- the left and right are guilty of this. sounds like you're still reporter. >> it is true because it is not confined to one side. in the new york times there is a piece in which he is talking about the robert bork hearings and he is talking about he was
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-- senator kennedy -- the robert bork's america speech avoided looking at this man's judicial record. instead refers to engage in a very personal attack intended to smear him and to ruin his public reputation so that he can be defeated because they know if they look at the record and make it a matter of a constitutional argument that bork is accessible and likely to be put on the court and they don't want to risk it for fear he is a vote against abortion. the same thing happened in the thomas hearing. these things happen and you look at it on the perspective of the right, here i am in austin but when you hear eric fleisher from white house podiums a people have to be careful when they say, you are not allowed to say you have differences about american foreign policy in terms of intervention in iraq, you are being told to shut up. >> i understand the argument.
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there's one thing in the front of the book where your dedication is dedicated to several groups including fox news, the dedication says standing tall in the face of speaking the truth is the heart of great journalism. there are people out there who wonder how fox news fits into that. your friends at fox news stood by you. stood by you. i get that. but while should the rest of us be grateful to fox news? don't they economize in some way exactly the overheated political huckster reason you are condemning? >> no. there are so many people who would point to hannity, just obama bashing but the fact is if
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you watch most of the news during the day you are getting new is done by first class journalists. i think the problem would be people would say despite it is the no. one cable channel in america so lot of people watch it and it is fun and interesting but people say you hear outrageous things or you see people, especially the prime-time host engage in slanting the news and slanting it in one specific direction to the right. i say yes, but they also have people like me there. no one tells me what to say. no one says you are not welcome because you are not an orthodox conservative leaders and you are not our kind of conservative. that has never been true. to my mind i wish more of the critics would watch the product and then come to the conclusion. my experience is a lot of the critics never watched it. they're comfortable with the reflexive condemnation without
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assessing what is being delivered. [applause] >> i think you have some fans here. >> i appreciate it because i get beat up as you can tell. >> let me take it a little further. bill o'reilly stood by you and has been a true friend. you write in the book i find his show balanced in a way few talk shows can match. are we talking about the same bill o'reilly? who is famous for dialing up the rhetoric and in flaming things like for example the kansas dr. featured in something like 29 episodes over a five year period. bill reilly called him the baby killer guilty of nazi stuff, operating at death mill, he has blood on his hands. how does that work for you? how does that work in terms of
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bill o'reilly as -- >> bill riley is anti-abortion, clearly of a mindset that said he felt a killer in terms of conducting late term abortion was someone that for him was an abomination. that is the way he felt. i don't have an objection to him saying it. when the rhetoric gets to the point you can connect it to killers and murderers it is problematic and i would urge -- >> that is a soft term. >> remember the argument after gabriel guilford's was shot. there was this reflexive attitude from the left, oh, the shooter must have been listening to right wing talk rhetoric and that is -- there was never any direct connection between that shooter and talk radio or right wing rhetoric of any kind. i don't think bill o'reilly said
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to this person go to the church and kill the doctor. you are creating an environment where you have demagogues and someone acts but that is the vague link i would argue that is going to happen in a free society where you allow people to argue and make their point and bill o'reilly is a talk-show host and is making his point. i disagree with it deeply. i am not someone who is anti-abortion. but that to me is within the bounds of free and honest conversation. he is accountable for what he said. >> let me quote a fairly wise quote to. talking about commentators saying they make money by making our problems worse. the more bitter the divide over an issue the more intractable problem, brighter they shine but
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their vitriolic displays the people away from getting involved in politics. that is what you wrote. doesn't that apply to many of your friends at fox? >> some of them. you are talking about the opinion people. talking about the opinion pages. if i am talking to conservatives they say is that new york times op-ed page is filled with liberals and they are making the most outrageous claims and we don't agree with that or they say npr or they say look at hollywood and the movies. people from the left would say what about the wall street journal editorial page or fox news or talk radio. you get people locked in these boxes and now we are talking about the larger environment. without a doubt media in america has the cited this is a niche landscape and you make money by catering to specific audiences that have one set of opinions or another.
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that is what is happening at the wall street journal and new york times and all around us. it is not peculiar to fox news. they make money by affirming oftentimes opinions. especially smart people in the audience are trying to have a varied media diet and appreciate when they hear a contrarian point of view. my fear that i was writing about is too often people get locked into one box or another and what drives the national conversation and sets the parameters for honest debate comes from the far right and the far left and you're not allowed to stray from their belief. if you stray from their belief you get into this no man's land where people say you are weak and needed and spineless. what are you considering the other side? that is bad. we need to have the freedom to talk and argue and debate and be wrong.
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i don't see a problem with it. if it is not an indication i have a bad person. [applause] >> you say you are still an npr fan but you also advocate the funding of npr. let's talk about that. where npr goes from here. >> for me there are two things to say. one is local and the our stations are journalistic jams that we have to protect because they play such an important role. [applause] i used to raise money for that with all my heart. in an era where we have declining local coverage from newspapers and npr stations and talk-show hosts they reflect the community in a way that is rare
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right now in the media landscape. if you are talking about npr washington, people who i think our self righteous and even limited in their thinking, what is going on here? these people are 1-sided and believe they are the only people who are practicing honest journalism in america. there are going to look down at anybody who is doing anything differently. i find that crazy. the bigger point about defunding is this which i say to you as a fellow journalist. in january of this year or january or february there was a letter from the head of the democratic congressional campaign committee saying we have to stop these republicans in their efforts to defund npr because npr is our answer to rush limbaugh. i thought to myself so if i may
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journalist at npr i have to make sure i am pleasing my patrons on the left for fear they would abandon me and leave me to be defunded by the right. i think journalists should not put themselves in such an untenable position. they shouldn't be pleasing one side or the other. do the job. do the journalism. the new york times and washington post and fox news get advertising and npr has an affluent and well-educated audience. the advertisers would love access to that audience. >> you are aware of the problem. you just raised the local station and they got 10% of their budget from the federal money. npr in washington legates 1% or 2%. >> that is what we're talking about. they say they get 1% or 2% but hide the fact and this is duplicitous that so much money flows through local stations. it is a lie hidden in here. if you talk about the local
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stations again i think you can form different funding structures and ask people especially in the audience -- i don't think the audience will abandon the local stations. you will have some consolidation especially in rural areas where they have small audiences so that npr stations in bigger areas would serve smaller markets. you're seeing this as a phenomenon in terms of the ncr system but it is not that anyone will lose coverage and lose access to npr. >> might be a good time to turn the floor over to questions. where do people go to ask a question? where is the microphone? let's take one from the front. do we have any means? all right. [inaudible] >> we can't hear you.
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>> there we go. >> we have an interesting situation with hurricane moving into a leadership position in the race. we have a direct conversation with obama which would be the better choice for america and black americans? aren't they trying to do the same thing to herman cain that they did to you in a way? >> this is really interesting. i have noted that herman cain is described as a bad apple, herman cain is described as someone who has offended black people by the suggestion of brainwashing. the attacks on herman cain from the far left seem to me to be evidence of how frightened they are by herman cain and part of
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your question is how would he do with black america? herman cain is saying wait a second. how has president obama performed for black america? how has he performed for all americans in asking hard political questions that go beyond racial identity simply saying this is the first black president, automatically you should support him. herman cain is breaking down that paradigm. a lot of them but particularly people who dominated the thinking on the left in the black community herman cain is a big threat. herman cain can make the case, this has been touched on, racially sensitive, he is a southerner who comes from morehouse and been through so much of the black experience that even president obama can't claim. so it really is an excitable nerve in terms of the black
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community and people saying don't go there. we don't want to do that but people are talking about it. if you think of him as a churchgoing gospel singer and all the rest herman cain said he could get a third of the black vote. he might be able to. if that is the case you are really shifting american politics. taking a third of the democratic vote, that is a game changer with changing demographics in society. >> we have a microphone over here and a line forming. >> thank you for coming. we all appreciate it. i watch fox news and am as nbc and i watch them to get different points of view and opinions. what turns me off on those programs is when they bring in two or three guests simultaneously with different points of view and end up yelling and screaming over each other so you can't hear any side. [applause]
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do the producers think this is good tv? >> no and i got to tell you something. you are not the only one who feels this way. it is a struggle because sometimes you get guests who think by raising the volume of their voice they're making a better point. sometimes the people with the weakest point feel the need to screen the loudest. what it does is turns off the audience. people say i can't stand this. screaming and shouting. they don't even do this. they push the button. it is a problem. the others thing is people say why do you guys -- the host on and on venue invite the guests in so we hear what the guest has to say as well? these are flaws. people watch in large part the reason they come to the party because of the domineering strong personality of the host.
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that brings people in but at the same time the fact that i am on fox is evidence of this, people do value other points of you and want to see real discussion and debate. you'd identified a critical problem that everybody on the executive and producer level is extremely concerned about. [inaudible] >> okay. let's take these questions in order. >> eunice and pr? >> i miss npr. >> in the years you were fired by npr as you look back and the debits and credits, how do you come out with the perspective -- how you come out on the effect of your case on the political
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discourse and political correctness in the united states? >> i am thinking about this lot this week being the one year market. as i was saying to glen, initially i am a human being. i was very hurt. glenn mentioned i have written books about the civil rights movement. i celebrate people who are activists and made a difference in this world and helped us to be a better country. the idea that someone was going to label me a bigot at this point in my life is unbelievable to me. i didn't understand it. i felt hurt. people said you are okay. fox give you a big contract. what is interesting is men always bring up the money. women say to me are you ok? [applause] but i learned very quickly -- i
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had this experience the day after it happened. npr trumpeted to the world as if they were so proud of the fact they had gotten rid of this terrible person, suddenly i was coming out of the hotel room and newspapers were stacked on the floor in front of the door and they're my picture was on the front of the new york times and i thought that is obnoxious. i kicked it away and there was on usa today. oh my god! did i kill somebody? what happened? it was because i felt it was about me. a year later i can fully is that is exactly wrong. what i found out is so many people -- the reason people responded to this, the reason the news media responded, abc said to me i can't believe we reached a point where you can't say how you feel. so many americans left and right, from john stuart to sarah
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palin, said you can't shut people up and tell them they are not allowed to express their feelings much less build on those feelings in the course of formulating an argument or debate or opinion. that is just not right. it became a larger issue. to that extent a year later i am glad if it helped to break apart this don't talk. new york told to shut up kind of structure that i think is fed by the lobbyists in washington and perpetuated by political polarization that leaves us down the road where we don't deal with critical issues ranging from immigration to the debt ceiling to the budget to terrorism. we are all inhibited. we have to get away from it. time to speak up. if this episode helps to break apart that awful phenomenon i am
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all for at. i am glad it happened. [applause] >> the terminology that restricts freedom of speech you quoted the phrase if you are with us you are against this which i quite agree with, bush said the phrase when he addressed the nation that parked about -- to suppress dissent on 9/11? >> i don't know if it was that but had the impression of saying to people descend and discussion was not being invited. you had to be clearly with it or against it. in a moment of global terror i think this was really much more nuanced groups and a statement.
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the impact was as you described to give him credit what he was saying was he wasn't going to allow states to sponsor terrorism and then say they had nothing to do with a terrorist act. >> thanks for coming down. if no one else comes out and says this i want to say the initial comment you made the got this whole thing started off with a completely reasonable statement and i frequently feel the same way at airports. [applause] >> i say thank you because it is easy for people to say i had the same thought but i will let him hang out and take the beating. >> all you people who just applauded should be saying the same thing but that was a reasonable statement. >> let me add here two things.
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one is i get a tax from people on the left to say did you know juan williams is black? and what would he say if a white man expressed anxiety and worry about a group of black kids walking down the street late at night and the white man across the
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>> the news of the day. you never get any kind of depth, any kind of context. is there anything that can be done considering fox got one of the one person who was doing that on june 30th? >> you mean glen beck? my sense is you never get away from live.
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live drives up ratings. live and immediate and taking people to the scene when possible is what the audience wants from cable news. they have migrated from the networks for live news coverage. you go to the cable networks and hopefully you go to fox. it is not a history channel. it is not an in depth channel. i was amazed that glenn ran through his lessons and got such a huge audience but he was. you are not going to get that -- not a reasonable expectation. not that anyone will go in that direction but it is important that people obviously be educated and bring some perspective to any debate taking place. >> we have time for one more. >> do you think there's any
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chance we can get back to an independent voice? a lot of people, and on this. one channel or the other is leaning in one direction. fox and am s nbc not sure what they want to do but may be going back to the 50s and 60s where the objective was to be more independent. >> i grew up in a 60s and for me walter cronkite was a hero. i didn't say is that by left-wing or right-wing? i didn't say exactly what is his opinion of this? i wanted to know the facts he was delivering. i don't think he would be successful in the current media environment. people would say he is boring and bland and always telling you what happened as opposed to pumping it up with some perspective, attitude and opinion. it is a huge shift that has taken place and right now we are in a niche media landscape. we do less of what i would say
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is walter cronkite type broadcasting. we do much more of what i think is more of the narrowcasting and you get people locked into these boxes perpetuated by the fact that the base wilton and and reaffirm their preexisting points a few and the people in the middle, you can count on them. this is driving the political polarization in washington too. where do we go in the next generation? how do we deliver an interesting and fun and sexy and compelling product and at the same time make it is a double of credibility? to me to finish up on the notion of journalism, i think it is important that people realize even in discussing a topic like terrorism that as we are here today the political cartoonist
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in seattle in hiding because she drew muhammed and people immediately sent in death threats. it is important to understand that you have to be honest enough to say this is the impact terrorism has not only globally but in the united states in terms of inhibiting free conversation. you have to be willing to say when van gogh is killed for making a documentary about how muslims treat women or daniel pearl of the wall street journal be headed, we have to speak honestly and directly about what terrorism means. you can't just say you are a bad guy because you point out the fact that there are people who want you to shut up and i won't shut up. [applause]
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>> we have time for a 20 seconds question and a 40 seconds answer. >> thank you for coming here. my question is have you seen any evidence of muzzling free speech taking place on college campuseses today? >> oh yes. this is so interesting. my son just got out of college and when he was in political science or history class he was pretty conservative. he is a republican. he would say to me he felt like he was not allowed to speak. he was constantly being beaten up. imagine a young black guy who is pretty conservative and feeling like he can speak and when he does it as an opportunity for people to pile on so they could never have an honest discussion. you asked me -- i have an example in front of me right there. i travel around to college campuses and i hear this all the
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time. if you look at the level of attitude and political affiliation is coming directly from the left. it is uniform. people fear if i am to the right i am not welcome. my point of view are immediately condemned as those of some kind of troglodyte. is not a good situation on a lot of campuses. >> of like a discussion for another day. we want to thank juan williams and all of you. >> thanks for coming out. >> juan williams will be in the book signing tend. you can purchase your book at the bar and then noble tennant up the road toward the capital and come back to the book signing can't. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> the annual texas book festival held on the capitol grounds here in the state capital of austin, texas. this festival was started by then tas bush in 1995. this year 250 authors will be here over the next two days. we want to give you an idea what we're doing in our live coverage and take your phone calls and reaction to juan williams's discussion of his newest book "muzzled: the assault on honest debate". after we take your reaction we will hear from sally jacobs in the booktv tend. she is the author of "the other
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barack: the bold and reckless life of president obama's father" about barack obama senior. and we will talk to deb olin unferth about her book revolution. quintin surge of revolutions in nicaragua. and next in the booktv tend in two hours a panel on the american debt and we will get your reaction to that as well via phone calls and your tweets. that a panel on india and pakistan with a couple of authors followed by an interview with steven fenberg who wrote a book called "unprecedented power: jesse jones, capitalism, and the common good". alex prud'homme will talk about his book very appropriate for texas in the middle of a drought, called "the ripple effect: the fate of fresh water in the twenty-first century". and finally chris lehmann, "rich people things: real-life secrets of the predator class". we will be talking with him and dana priest of the washington post is down here in austin talking about her newest book called "top secret america: the rise of the new american security state". now the c-span bus is down here
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in austin about two blocks from the state capital passing out book bags. if you are in the area come down to see us. we have the booktv tend. in few minutes and 11 will be in there. we want your reaction to what you heard from juan williams. the numbers are up on the screen as well as our twitter address, twitter.com/booktv. if you want to send a tweet to as we can take that as well. we start with a call from charleston, south carolina. you are on booktv. >> caller: yes. is this me? >> host: we are listening to you. >> caller: thank you for the part with juan williams. i always liked to listen to him because he is middle of the road. how can we as a general public try to get more people like him on our newscasts so that we can
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be a balanced or at least both sides of things rather than so much pointed one way? >> host: thanks for calling in and watching live coverage in austin, texas. durango, colorado, good morning. you are on booktv. >> caller: how is it going? i was just wondering. i was watching the tv and it was confusing. >> host: got to turn down the volume on your tv. >> caller: i was wondering why the news media outlets in the united states played down prominent political ideology in the rest of the world that has been worldwide like communism and anarchism and fascism and how that in effect manifests
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itself in muzzling of the political debate not only of national politics but world politics in general? >> host: can you give an example what you mean by that? >> caller: first of all, with fascism you never hear a positive word about it. in reality, germany was facing the biggest national debt crisis that faced the planet and hitler did to a certain extent bring them out of that. i am not by any means promoting his ideology at all, but that is one. national socialist idea would be one way to encourage a growth of the political debate as a whole. >> host: that was durango. we were just hearing from.
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as we continue live coverage from the texas book festival. of palo, florida. your reaction to juan williams talking about his book "muzzled: the assault on honest debate" and your reaction to american political debate. ocala is gone. to the next call, oakland, calif.. >> caller: good morning. i want to say to mr. williams i think for him to talk about a debate politically when he gets on these tv programs one side is the left side. it is the right side. just give us a fax. some of the stuff you say -- the other person -- if you are a good journalist that is what we miss in this world because -- fox and cnn and you guys are
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supposed to be intelligent and doing the public good this surface while we are in a hard time in this world. you need to be reporting on goldman sachs. goldman sachs right now -- what we are going through in this world and how they get over the money the taxpayers had to pay. those are the stories you should be carrying throughout the media right now. >> host: thank you. just to remind you there is a panel coming up on american debt in two hours from now. h w brands has a new book called greenback planets and he will be joined by david gray bird whose new book is the first five thousand years. you might stay tuned for that. that is coming up at the texas book festival. as we continue to take your calls we personal reaction to juan williams. free land, michigan.
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you are on booktv. >> caller: thank you very much. i was just wondering. they're the cliche that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighters. i was wondering if anyone asked mr. williams what his definition of terrorism is. if it is what i think is the traditional definition of attacking innocent civilians for a political reason, if that is his definition than i was wondering if anyone ever asked him if he thought stuff like what we did during world war ii like bombing dresden, germany or the nuclear bombs on japan if he would consider them terrorist acts or something like that. i think a lot of times people don't really give a clear definition of terms like terrorism. they just use them loosely.
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>> host: thanks for coming in. we are in austin at the texas book festival at the sixteenth anniversary the sixteenth annual book festival. the texas state capitol is two blocks from where we are. we are on congress avenue in austin, texas and continuing to take your calls before the next panel starts. sally jacobs talking about "the other barack: the bold and reckless life of president obama's father". this next call is from california. please go ahead with your comment about juan williams. >> caller: i really wanted to thank juan williams for speaking up. i admire him so greatly and i know what he talks about is so real. we are facing the same kind of fight when we talk about environmentalism. if you are not totally to the left on that issue you are seen
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as a far right radical and we are losing the ability to have a dialogue about middle ground in terms of epa and regulations that are strangling businesses and farming and logging and mining, industries we really shouldn't just be destroying. but under the banner of environmentalism these people are not given a voice to any kind of compromise or any legitimate discussion. we really have become a nation that is polarized and unfortunately we are losing sound and creative minds in the process and we are struggling the of voice of middle ground america where most of us live and we need to open up these discussions especially about the epa and the endangered species act which have been taken so far to the left that there is simply
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no middle ground. and i really applaud juan williams for standing up and i hope more people like him will speak to the concepts that we are muzzling americans from being able to have a voice. so kudos to juan williams. >> host: we have a tweet from burned up politics. no juan williams from days of america's black forum, herman cain has no black following in the black community and never will. as we take this next call from huntington woods, michigan, you are on booktv. >> thanks for the opportunity to comment on juan williams's books and observations. what he had to say is spot on. there is no room for any kind of civilized debate either left or
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right or any place in the middle of because people have been trained to accept the paradigm of either one of these polarized opposites and you can't talk to anyone without being ostracized or banished some place else. we are training our politicians to respond in those ways and not getting a true picture of who the person running for office is because they are tailoring their remarks to subscribe to the views of a certain audience they're trying to whoo-hoo. i thank him for making his views known and i hope more people will pay attention to what he has to say and will read his book. ..
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i agree with the previous calls in that we have been so, rise dhaka here in the summation that we can't even sit down and have an honest debate on any subject matter because immediately the conversation will shut down because everyone is pulverized. you're either left or right. ne you are never middle or a cool prails. head that prevails.ool juan williams seems to be that cool headed prevails.d i i appreciate it every w ust all comment he had to say. book, and now he's my new hero. thanks a lot. bye. >> thank you for calling in the the next panel is ready to begin. sally jacobs talking about the
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other barack. e we're at the texas book fest call barack obama senior. here's sally jay -- jacobs. >> hello, everybody. i want to start by congratulate ing sally on the other barack, and i'll start off by asking what led you to the project? >> i'm a reporter with the "washington globe," antethe time the election was beginning, we looked at the cast of character, and there was not much known about obama senior, and more known about her, she lived in the united states, and there was profiles, but he was a mystery. there was a portrait of him, but this was an important character
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that if president obama won the nomination, we needed to know his father. it seemed to be a story waiting to be told. >> the subtitle of the book, the bold and reckless life the president obama's father, it's very telling. you see the photo, and you see he's bold and wreckless. talk about his life and what characterizes his 46 years on this planet. >> obama certainly was bold and certainly was wreckless to describe that to run through entire narrative of the book, but in terms of his character, obama was a bold person from the very beginning. he was very, very smart, and that was kind of his passport. it molded him as a person, and even as a young boy in a culture if you were a child in school, you didn't speak up, but he did challenging his teachers, other
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students, it was just part of him. his wrecklessness also cloaked his life in many respects, partly from his speaking out and arguing. as he became older, he had a wreckless lifestyle. he was a heavy drinker. many of you who read the book, you know he was an alcoholic. his nickname was "double double," and the reason for that was -- want me to keep going -- the reason for that was because when he went to a bar, his favorite drink was johnny walker black ordered a double shot followed by a chaser of another shot. his friends said he had 16 shots, four double, doubles walking out of the bar upright still talking. it was a culture at the time, but he stood out. he was a womanizer, or he's pegged as being in our culture. the truth was obama senior came from the lao tribe, the fourth
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largest, and it was a polygamist culture. you know, if he had not had multiple wives, it would have been unusual. he was a serial marrier. he married one after another. the first wife has a prominent position, second, third, fourth, you all lived together. he had the four wives, but he married, went on the next,nd .. wives he was married to. the number of wives was a mystery. it was a wreckless aspect of his life. in an important way, he lived wreck leslie within the kenyan political and social culture. he was born, grew up in a critical time in the history, before the years of independence, 1963, and after.
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joe was the president, and he started out on a rather conservative path politically, and this was very disappointing for many who thought at last independence from the british, our country. he was conservative, and obama senior spoke out against that, his economic policies that adhered to the old days of british structure to allow outside forces to control the economy, and obama senior was one of the very few challenging the president. he wrote a magazine piece publicly challenging the direction he was going in, and he made quite a few enemies but it was a bold thing, a wreckless thing you did that. you did not criticize the president. if you did, there was a personal risk. after the assassination of tom boya, a prominent nationalist at the time, very beloved, a challenger, he was assassinated in 1969.
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again, obama senior speak up loudly against that, and that also put him at personal risk. for many reasons, that's why we subtitled the bold and wreckless life. >> extensively, he is arrogant, defiant, and he was -- is that fair to say because of the characteristics 245 mark his personality? >> yes, he was defiant. as a biographer, it was my purpose to understand who he was, go deeper than the four shots of wisky, the womanizing. i feel he was wounded as a child. now, this is my psychology here, but he had a very, very violent alcoholic father who beat his mother. at one point, he tried to murder his mother. obama senior's father tried to kill his mother.
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i got it from those who witnessed it and the sisters. the father was so mad, he dug her grave, dug a huge pit, he digs a huge pit, takes her out her and starts to cut her throat, and the neighbor and the children saw this and called him off. the mother was so sick of him that she decided to leave. she had three small children of which obama senior was the middle and says to them i'm going away. follow me if you can. well, not long afterwards, she left, she ran away. this was not done in the culture. you do not leave your husband, and you rarely divorce no matter what's going on. obama senior was about 10 years old, and several weeks later he and his sister went to go find their mother, and they took off by foot walking only at night so adults would not find them. this is africa. they are in the jungle with animals, and they walk for two
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week, and they get to the next village of where he was born, and that's where he mother fled, and the people there called his father. they didn't get to see the mother, i called the father who came and beat them for running away and dragged them back across lake victoria to another village where he ultimately grew up. the point of the story to me and the absence of the mother is obama senior was left with a very violent father and without his mother, and i feel he was wounded by that. he never -- i think he never really had full self-confidence at that, and it explains his womanizing, the need to one-up people, need for titles, went on to lie about things in his job, it underminded him as a human being, so that's my long answer to where i think those adjectives apply to him. >> it was grounded in insecurity that comes from a formative experience. >> exactly. always trying to compensate for
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not feeling sure of himself. >> you used armed chair psychiatrist, you might derive the conclusion that he's a narcissist. do you feel he had the qualities of a narcissist penalty? >> yes and no. he had a series of jobs, lost several of them, and then had one for five years. he pretended to be better than his boss who had been trained in india. many kenyans went to india, and he looked down on that degree and told him so and went off on trips for the kcbc and pretended hefsz his own boss and lied to people about who he was pretending to be better. he went to harvard, got kicked
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out, he came this close to getting his degree and was kicked out for unfair reasons but he claimed to be dr. obama because he felt he was trying to compensate for shortcomings. >> we painted a negative portrait of this man, but there were positive aspects to him. he was seeming to be very attractive to women, and he always had a series of sponsors or supporters or believers. talk about that aspect of his life. >> he was very attractive, all the women he married fell in love with him. he was sexy, intelligent, fun, and there's lots of kenyans now, men in their 70s who worked with him who were great to me, talked with me about him, and they admired him a lot. he was so smart, and he realfuls passionate about kenya.
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that was the love of his life more than the women in his life. he believed in an independent kenya and a kenya for after africans. there was the concern about the political drift in the country and argued against the president at some personal risk in the defense of the kenya he had in mind. it was really his speaking up against the power against the president that defined him as an independent and admirable person to some people. some of his friends tried to get him to stop. for example, after tom boya was killed, this was a huge seismic event, and obama went out to bars and said publicly he thought the president had killed him, not literally, but hired the person that assassinated him. that was a very dangerous thing to do, but it was true. most people believed that he did stage the assassination, but very few went out to challenge him. you know, obama took perm risk
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to do that. later on, he would say to two of his friends that he felt he, himself, had been pegged for assassination because of what he had been saying. now, i don't know if that's true or not. it's not impossible. there were many political assassinations in kenya during this period. it was sort of a culture of assassinations. the president got rid of his enemies. obama also happened to make things up, so it's hard to tell. he did have many car accidents. he told one friend he had been struck by a car walking down the street, told a friend he received death threats because of what he was saying. obama was his own worst enemy, so it's hard to get the total truth out. i think there's some degree of both true here. i think the president was aware of who obama was, and i don't think it did him good, but obama lost his own jobs himself, so i think both things are true. >> talks about his four wives,
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sally. give us a brief history of his marital life. >> yes. his marital life was a mystery not only to biographers and people trying to understand his life, but also to his wives who never knew how many people he was married to. the first wife was grace, who was a kenyan, she was 18, he was 23. they had two children together 6789 he took off, left in 1959, went to hawaii, met the president's mother, and married her and tells her about wife number one, and doesn't say they have two children. they are together for a year, and he heads off to harvard leaving behind our president who was a year old. when he gets to harvard, he meets a woman named ruth baker, a white jewish woman from the suburbs of boston who falls deeply in love with him. he leaves, gets kicked out, and
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says come with me, follow me. this woman had never been outside the united states. she had never been on a plane, and she follows him a month later, and when she gets to the airport, he's not there. he tells her about wife number one, but not wife number two, which is the president's mother. he suggests in good tradition that wife one lives with them in the house. this woman wanted nothing of it and refused to know that person. she -- they had a very difficult marriage. he was -- this was when he began to decline, drinking heavily, going out with night with other women, and ruth was unhappy with him. i spent a couple sessions with her, and she put up with a lot. when he began to strike one of their children, she left after seven years. she lives in nairobi to this day. by that point, he enters the period of decline, and shortly before he dies, he married the
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fourth wife, and they have one child together. those were the four, and with the fourth wife, she knew nothing about any of the previous three wives. after he died, it all ended up in a huge legal brawl. wife one and wife four went to court. wife one started it. over his assets, which were not huge. he had about $50,000 at the time. it was the matter of who's the left wife standing. obama never had divorced his first wife although he said he it. if he had not divorce her, than the other marriages didn't exist, perhaps, including the president's mother's marriage. the judge upheld the last wife and said she really was the wife that was married to him in the end. it was a huge battle and reflective of his life. many of his eight children became involved and also were
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quarreling about which of them should inherit too. it was a good reflection of the chaos of his domestic life. >> back to wife number two, the mother of the 44th president of the united states. she was named stanley by her father who wanted a boy and then became anne when she went to the university of hawaii and met obama senior. talk about the union, how did they meet, and what was the nature of their relationship? >> they mitt in a russian class, russian was very popular at the time because of sputnik, various things going on. they were submitten with each other -- smitten with each other. she wanted to stay in seattle, but six months, she writes to her friends and says she's dating an african and says i'm in love with the african, never names him, becomes pregnant soon
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afterwards which must have been very, very difficult for her. the rate for intermarriage was tiny, and lower in honolulu. there were few african-americans, and he stood out in a big way, and to boot, she's pregnant at 19, also, a very difficult choice. they left honolulu to go to maui, got married, nobody was told about it. nobody i interviewed on either side of the family attended the wedding. by the time they come back, it's difficult. he's becoming difficult. i was able to get a hold of his immigration record, and we were led to believe they lived together for a couple years or even a year and a half, he was out of -- obama senior left anne by the time, six months after they got married living in separate dwellings, and then there was the time he had a choice of where to go because he was so very smart graduating from the university of hawaii. he got offered some money from
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harvard, 5 lot of money from new york university, but obama being obama, he decided he had to have the best, so he chose harvard. that meant he didn't have enough money to take his son or wife, but chose harvard and left them behind. they stayed in touch a bit, but he was wrapped up in harvard, and they never saw each other again until ten years later when he goes back to hon honolulu. >> what did she see in him? >> i'm not an expert, but from what i do know, she had a hunger for what was different. she became an anthropologist, interested in things exotic, other, and he was all of that. he was very bold as was she. as you know, she traveled widely. he was very sexy. you know there's many aspects. she was drawn to other cultures, and that's what he was. >> the -- their son, barack obama, jr. spent two periods with his father.
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one ten months old and the other at 10 years old, a month apiece. talk about those experiences and exposure to his father. >> sure. the first one was when he was really little. i think he remembers nothing of that. he doesn't mentions it. the visit when he was ten was very complex. obama senior, at that time, was on his downward curve. it was 1971, lost three jobs, just been fired, politically on the ousts with the powers -- and he didn't know what to do. the third wife was in the process of divorcing him. he was barely on speaking terms with any of his then seven children, and he goes to hon honolulu to essentially develop business contacts, but had in his minute maybe get back together with anne, get barack, and go back to kenya. i know this from several people,
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but anne had her own defined life and notions of what she wanted to do and going back to nairobi in a male-centered culture was not what she wanted to do. on the other hand, she encouraged him to know his father. they encouraged him to write, or would in subsequent years, but always talked about him. by the time they get there, they start out well, visited the sites, obama jr. was exited too see -- excited to see his father. he describes looking at the father, how thin he was, a yellow cast to the skin. he was not well. he had a car accident, and he's trying to figure out the person, and his grandmothers are given respect to obama senior. by the end of the month, he was tired of the man. his father was bossy, didn't listen very well. he wanted his life back. they had differences when obama
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senior said to his son, he wanted to watch the grinch who stole christmas. his father said, turn that tv off and go back to the studies. everybody was pressured and tired of the situation and had a big fight. it was a four week visit, and that's the last time they saw each other. it was when they were trying 20 understand who he was, what it was like to be a black man in america, to be a black man at all, but even that faded out. >> he goes -- barack jr., goes to kenya really in search of his father's legacy in 1986. what does he discover on what is more or less a quest of sorts? >> i think it was a hard journey for him. his mother had described the more positive side of him wanting her boy to feel his father was a good man, so she
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told the positive side of which certainly was one, but when he goes to kenya, he finds the siblings and family members there and realizes his father was not a great person or not someone to idolize. he was a broken man and an alcoholic, and that's heart breaking to him. my feeling is he wanted to know about his dad, but not everything because it was a painful journey, so he writes his book about that, which i thought was a bold book and honest. he tells the truth of his father, a certain truth, and that's as much as he knew about him, i think. >> there are offspring, so half siblings that obama has around the world that connects him to his father in a sense. what are his relationships like with the offspring of obama senior. >> he had eight children, one
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died in a motorcycle accident in his 20s, so there's six left. eight total, one died. he's not particularly close to any of them. i think there was a period when he was trying to learn about his father, he got to know them. he went to kenya several times. the two oldest he knows the best. the one daughter, she's the one he's the closest too, but it's a complicated family, and there's the folks in nairobi who want to be closer to them, but he's not reached out in a great deal to connect with him. there's one brother, mark, living in china, who looks like him, and he totally backed off of the family, the one who was beat by the father, and he was wounded that he wanted nothing to do with nairobi or obama. never used the name obama, but when the president -- when obama ran for the president, he opened himself up to it a little bit and the two got to know each
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other, and it enabled mark to take the name back, not for showy reasons or reasons to profit, but because it was his name, and at last, he could feel there was dignity in the name obama. he was the president. i think they have had a meeting of minds, but none of them are particularly close is the truth. >> two more questions and we'll open it up to you for questions. there's a microphone over there. when you see bam on television, the 44th president of the united states, do you see any qualities in him now that you could relate based on your research directly to his father? >> absolutely. despite their unlikely lifestyles, they are very different men. the. -- the president's about control and reserve, the other was the opposite. truth is they are smart. love him or hate him, the president's a smart man. i think they also both were very ambitious. they both created themselves out
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of very little. certainly bowsm senior growing up very poor in rural kenya made something of himself backing a very successful economist, graduated from the university of hawaii and harvard as did obama the president. he came from modest circumstances and became the first african-american president, an extraordinary achievement. they both also tasked themselves as mediators in the political culture of the day. obama, our president, tries to bring competing elements together. his father did the same thing. he was not just a critic of the president, but tried to bring the two polar extremes of kenya politics in the 60s, the left and the right, tried to find a commonground, not that many people followed his suggestions, and finally, they both lacked a parent. they both had to deal with not having two parents and what that meant. i think they share quite a bit. >> what most surprised you about
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this character, obama senior, as you worked on the project? when you went through his story, any particular element that surprised you about him? >> well, one piece of news that came out of the book i found surprising, and i wonder about it to this day, and it's the one thing that's important to the president, and that is in obama's immigration file, he would be interviewed every year to have his visa renewed by immigration authorities, and in one of those interviews, he said not to worry about his baby. he was putting the baby, the president, up for doorption. he said my wife, anne, is making arrangements with the salvation army to put the baby up for adoption. now, did they really do that? were they going to put him up for doorption? maybe. it would have been better for obama in that interview not to have a mixed race baby. it complicated his profile, but i don't know if they would would
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have. there was a home for unwed mothers which i think he was referring to. that piece of information i was able to present to the white house, and it's the one thing the president responded to in the book, and he said they did not think they had done that otherwise the mother would have told them. would a mother tell a child they thought about putting their child up for adoption? maybe, maybe not, but that was the most surprising part of this journey. >> sure. we open it up to questions. >> i'd like to say i think that's a very -- your book brings a very interesting angle into history where history's concerned, background, first black president of the united states, so i want to say that's a really good idea. my question is surely you ran into the allusive birth certificate? >> well, to be honest with you,
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i never paid mind to the birth certificate. clearly he was born in hon honolulu. look in the newspapers and you see the record of him being born there. in his immigration file, there's a notation, he was born in hon honolulu, august 1961. he was written in 1961, and i never thought about it again. >> other questions? as you cue up, think about this notion, if i can get you to come to the -- thank you. >> my first exposure to the book and hearing this it seems so very sad. i'm sorry. i felt a lot of sadness when i heard you answer these questions, and i'm curious about your own emotional journey as
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you completed the book and talked to the people. would you mind sharing your personal feelings? >> the sadness about the story or just the journey -- >> the life stoif -- story and the people involved. could you separate yourself from it or found yourself drawn into some of that. >> yeah, i mean, i definitely got drawn into it. i spent two and a half to three years on this project, and i got to know a lot of people in nairobi who knew obama senior. he was a fellow with huge promise. you know, the harvard piece was interesting to me. in the immigration file, there were detailed records of what happened to obama at harvard, and if you think about this guy who gets to harvard, hay vard from nairobi in the 60s, he did it. it was not new math. computers were starting. it was a new thing, and i found fellows who helped him get through it. he not only got through all
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examines, but defined the thesis, and he was going to finish it. harvard agreed to let him come back for one more year. what got him was the women. immigration looked at how many women and marriages he had, and they didn't like it. they thought he was a polygamist, thought about getting rid of him, and every year they looked at his profile. in the last year, immigration does the interview, they think he has a third wife. what about this guy? are you signing off on him? they already signed off for obama, you know, internally, they said he could come back. well, they don't like it. it's a guy having too much sex, not enough money, and they don't think he looked well for harvard. you see this in the record. it's not me interpreting. they say to each other let's drum up something and get rid of him, and they did. within three weeks, they send a letter to obama saying sorry, we
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don't have enough money, you need to go back to nairobi. it broke him. degrees there at the time were gold. at the time of independence, there's only 500 kenya men and women, 500 with college dregs. this was your passport. not only do you define the new kenya, but would be quite a significant person. obama would have had a university of hawaii degree and a ph.d. from harvard, and they told him to go back. he begs them, there's nations, obama's called, wants to know why. they never said why, and said harvard doesn't have the money. it was a lie. he goes back, and from there, he begins to collapse. he pretends to be a doctor. people call him doctor because he earned. they know he didn't have it, but this is obama. that's a long answer to i do feel sadness about him because i feel he could have been a real
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success, and his life was a tragedy. his eight children, you know, they are confused about him. when he ran for the president, they all began to look at their name also like mark and say who is obama? they put their dad away, he had not been good to them. he didn't know how. he had no mother. he didn't know how to nurture. all the children, four out of five who were surely his children, have written books about themselves and their father, sort of biographies, but clearly, they, too, are trying to understand themselves like the president in his own memoir, so there's a fair amount of human damage and pain that came out of this man, and it is a sad story. >> the president might not necessarily identify with his father and some of his penalty could be compensating for his weakness. does he identify with his father's native country?
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do you get a sense of his relationship to kenya? >> that's ad good question. the answer to that is yes and know. obama wanted to know who he was and where his blackness came from. he's gone to kenya several times. on the other hand, i don't think he has experience of kenya culture, didn't grow up there, no connection to it really. his father is dead. he has remote relationship. there's pandemonium in the universe there. when i was there at one point, there was a fight between two of the siblings. one went to the grandmother's hut throwing things through the window and somebody called obama in the white house saying you got to help out here. you know, he's not going to get involved in that. he's put it at arm's length to protect himself, so while he does embrace who he is, the fact he does have a kenya heritage, i
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don't think he's particularly connected to the culture now. >> any other questions from the audience? please. >> i wrote about the book on the website. >> i can't hear you. >> i wrote about your book on the website, and i thought how painful it must have been for president obama to read this. did you ever consider waiting until he was out of the white house, maybe a few years after to publish this or is there a purpose in publishing now while he's still in the white house? >> no, not at all, wouldn't wait because if you were not the president, no one will read the book. i mean, the reason the book is significant is because it's a piece of history, i think. you know, it really helps to understand a significant event in american politics love him or hate him, obama is the first black president. that's significant. who is he? how did he get there? where's the blackness from? you know, we care about this
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now. historians will care 20 years from now perhaps. if there is anguish to the president, which probably is not an easy book for him to read, i don't think it's different now or five years from now. it's a reasonable question, but i don't think for a personal reason it would have mattered to him, but i think the book had to be published during his presidency because that's what it is germane to. >> other questions? >> have you got any research on how many presidents have had normal childhoods with normal families and perhaps having not so normal family night give you more incentive to be president? >> well, i guess the first question, of course, is what is normal? i don't pretend to know what that is. you know, again, that also would be hard to define. yes, certainly, there's a number of presidents with only one parent and dysfunctional homes.
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dysfunction, chaos at home sends you in one of a couple directions, one it makes you; the other, it breaks you. your internal chemistry and how you react to it makes the difference. it obama jr. was raised by his father, if he had that penalty -- personality at the table every day and guiding him or not, i don't think he would be the president. the president defined himself deliberately. you can feel him choosing a course, figuring out who he is, and i think if he had that self-absorbed man, he wouldn't be the president, so, yes, but i think every situation is different. hard to generalize. >> question about you mentioned obama's grandparents, his maternal grandparents who were very prominent and important in his lives, and they had a very respectful relationship with obama senior.
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talk a little about how they responded to him. >> to obama senior? >> yeah. >> yeah. i think -- i think they tried very hard in their culture. this was sort of shocking to them. 23 you read the president's book, i think they were taken aback. she was dating a black man, but, you know, they loved her so much and knew she was happy with this, and so they embraced it. i think they were fascinated with him. they were not particularly happy, neither side, the parents on neither side were happy they were going to get married, and there was a lot of turmoil when they announce it had, but the couple got married anyway. i think they did their best. obama was not an easy personalty as you know, but they supported the marriage as much as they could, and when it was over, they were wonderful to that little boy. obama jr. was really raised by them. the mother was off traveling, pursuing her own dreams so i think they did the best that they could.
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>> sir? >> anything that he had a rivalry because he went to harvard and yale -- did that come out of anything. >> i'm sure of the yale -- >> he would have been upset of harvard because his dap #* dad was not -- dad was not granted immigration status possibly. has that come out that he preferred to go to yale or why he chose yale. >> you mean the dad? >> they both went to harvard. >> no yale connection? oh, i'm sorry. >> they talk about how he meant his end. what were his last days like, and how did he die? >> he ended his last days in a fitting manner for obama senior. he was working in the treasury, and every day he would go to the bar, and a group of them came from the treasury as the day
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wound down. obama was the first there and last to leave, and they drank outside. it's a great bar, lots of trees outside, and he had a driver take him home because he knew he was pretty drunk. on this night, his driver was off, and the friends said don't drive home. let someone take you. he refused, said good night, i'll see you tomorrow, headed off in the car, and 10 minutes later, he crashed into a tree several blocks from his home and died instantly. some people, the family has maintained he was murdered because of his political speakings, the medical record says the opposite. he drove himself into the tree, and i don't think there was foul play, and that was the end of it. >> what was the reaction in the village to his death? >> you know, obama was very loved. he was a character and very well known, and i think he was widely mourned. there was no bad feeling about him particularly, so it was a sad and very unexpected end.
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>> there was clearly am biff lance with obama jr. towards his father. what was his reaction to the death? >> i don't know a great deal about that. he makes a reference to receiving a phone call from kenya. like any son, he was, of course, deeply saddened by it. i think he had felt he might learn more about his father if he had an opportunity to travel more, so it was disappointing for him. it closed a door in more ways than one. he would never talk to him again or learn who his father was. >> any final questions? i think we're out of time anyway. sally, thank you very much for not only this discussion, but for this great revealing book about obama senior. thank you, all, for coming today. [applause] >> thank you. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> you've been watching booktv's live coverage from the texas book festival in austin texas. that was sally jacobs talking about barack obama senior, her book, "the other barack," and now joining us outside the booktv tent from austin is deb, the author of this book, "the year i fell in love and went to join the war." professor, what was the year 1987 like for you?
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>> well, when i was 18, i dropped out of college with my boyfriend, and this was in 1987, and we went to central america to try to join one of the revolutions that was going on there. there were a lot of different revolutions going on, uprisings, and civil wars, el salvador was in the middle of a dark civil war. nick raw gay won the revolution in 1979, and they had a revolutionary government, a socialist revolutionary government in place, and in honduras, there was skirmishes, beginnings of a civil war, and in panama, of course, the dictator was in power, so there was a lot going on in central america at that time. >> so what was your goal in 1987? >> well, we -- we decided that
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we wanted to help. we. we wanted to be -- we were socialists. we were what was called international alistas which we were among a group of people who felt that in nick nick rag ray especially, there was a government that was going to be international, and we wanted to help this beginning government. i was very young, so i didn't understand quite as much about it as my boyfriend did, he was a little older than me, and in some ways, i was following him, but i learned a lot along the way. >> tell us about george. >> well, george was a math major and philosophy major, and -- >> where? >> at the university of colorado. >> okay. >> and he was older than me, a senior, and i was a freshman, and we just fell madly in love,
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and we got very interested in liberation theology, which was the popular socialist theology of the time, and he thought it would be a really good idea if we leave school and go to central america, you know, to live our ideals, and i was not going to let him go anywhere without me, so i was like, i'm coming too, and he was very smart, very charismatic, very interesting, and inspiring. he was religious. he was a christian. i'm jewish, but i became a christian while we were together. >> are you still together? >> no, we're not, we're not. in fact, while i was writing the book, i wanted to include information about him, but i didn't know where he was, and, you know, thee days it's easy to find people.
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these days put their name in the computer, and you know, into the internet, and they pop up all over the place with their running times, where they work, and everything, but i couldn't find him. i 4 to hire a private investigator to find him, so -- >> what kind of work deb, once you got down to el salvador, what work did you do for the revolution? >> well, in el salvador, we worked in an or fannage, and it was -- it was actually -- it turned out to be sort of in the middle of the war zone, although we didn't know it when we first showed up. it was not supposed to be in the middle of the war zone. it was an or orphanage set up for children who had become victims of war. they were sending in death squads killing off wholeville
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-- whole villages, and so then sometimes what happened is that children would, you know, run into the bushes and hide, and then they came out and would walk to the nextville laming, and so it was a tragic situation. outside the war zone, there's an orphanage setup, and that's where we wound up, but then the war moved over, so we were right in the middle of it and there was shooting going off and bombs exploding, and yeah, it was an intense situation. we didn't stay there long because i was terrified, and i think i was in over my head, so we left, and actually, i got -- i basically got fired from my job, and then they told us to leave. they told me to leave and george came with me, of course, and then we went on to nick gray
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ray, where we got a job with bikes not bombs, and we got fired from that too. >> why did you get fired from that? >> neither one of us are had any idea how to build a bike, and -- >> what was the reaction to a lot of the central american countries, the revolutions to these americans, these people coming down and helping them? >> well, i think that -- i think that they had a lot of patience with us because sometimes, some of us, i mean, i'm not saying all, but there were a will the of people down there helping really doing great things p.m. i mean, just amazing things that have still -- that are still a part of the country today, but there's an awful lot of us who, you know, didn't really know what we were doing. a lot of them were older. there were not that many people who were 18. mostly in their 30s, so people who may be had once been
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hippies, and a lot of them were -- they were teachers. there were a lot of journalists there. there were -- >> some skill sets 1234 >> yeah, so i would say i was probably among the least skilled people who had gone down there, but there were a lot of skilled people down there, 5 lot of doctors there, so there were people really doing things, but there was a subset of people like me who didn't know what we were doing, and i think that they had a lot of patience, and the americans who were assigning us tasks had a lot of patience as well, so -- >> well, part four of your book is entitled "tiresome," why? >> you know, for a couple of reasons. for one thing, once we -- once george and i spent a lot of time in central america, we began to get really tired of it.
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it was -- it was so exhausting, and at the same time, 1987, that year, was sort of a turning point when -- and, you know, not long after that, you know, the berlin wall came down, they were voted out of power, and, you know, russia was in retreat, and started leaving central america, and so that point marks a time of exhaustion in central america. the people there were so tired of fighting. they were so tired of their sons going to war, and dying, of having tremendous food shortages, of -- and so there we were, so it's sort of -- i'm sort of making 5 joke when i say, you know, tiresome, that george and i were tired, but really it was the general exhaustion of the country. >> so deb, are you still a socialist? >> no.
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well, i i mean, i think i would be, but it doesn't seem to have worked very well, so, no, no, i'm not really anymore, no. >> how do you use humor in your writing? >> well, i feel like it's very important to me to be funny because it's through -- it's through humor i feel like i can reach a poignant -- i love iron yi because who -- irony because when you lift that up, the real sadness and revelation comes through so i like to be funny. i like writing about war that's funny. my books are about war, like catch 22 and the autobiographies, and mark twain, you know, these are all people who wrote about war, about different wars with a sense of humor, and i feel like then if you're doing that, then at some point you reach a point where
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suddenly terrorist not funny, and then the true sadness and darkness of that period comes through so much vividly than it does when i'm just reading a whole book that's serious on the topic. >> so you dropped out of college in 87, you obviously finished it sometime because your day job is what today? >> i'm a professor at wesleyan teaching creative writing and literature. >> where did you finish your degrees? >> university of colorado and syracuse. >> deb olin n unfeater, the weir i fell in love and joined the war joinings here at the texas book festival. live coverage continues. in a few minutes, a panel on american debt, and after that, there's a panel on fresh water
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and dana priest will be joining us. the state capitol is about two blocks from where we are now. you can see the crowds here, this is 5 two-day fest call, all weekend this is happening, 250 authors down here in austin talking about their books, ect., and booktv tent live today and tomorrow, and we will be back in just a few minutes with our live coverage. >> what i found again and again and again while i was researching this book is that not only was garfield's life, nomination, and brief presidency full of incredible stories, but the people who surrounded him were also unbelievable. you just couldn't make them up. first, of course, charles, garfield's would be asass sin.
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you can tell with a deeply, dangerously dilutional man who was deeply intelligent and articulate. if you read nearly any other account of garfield's assassination, he is described as a disgruntled office seeker, but that doesn't cover the smallest part of it. he was a uniquely american character. he's the product of the country at that time, a lot of play, and no one understood what he was up to, and hold him to account for it. he was a self-made madman. he was smart and scrappy. he was a clever opportunity, and he would have been successful if he had not been insane. [laughter] he had tried everything, and he had failed at everything. he had tried law, evangelism, even a free love commune in the
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1800s, and failed at that. the women in the commune nicknamed him "charles get out," but he survived on sheer audacity traveling all over the country by train, never bought a ticketed. he took great pride in moving from boarding house to boarding house, slipping out when the represent was due, and even when he occasionally worked as a bill collector, he would just keep whatever he managed to collect. after the republican convention, he became obsessed with garfield and immediately after the election, he began to stock the president. he went to the white house nearly every day. at one point, he even walked into the president's office while the president was in it. he even attended a reception and introduced himself to garfield's wife. he shook her hand, he gave her his card, and he slowly
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pronounced his name so she wouldn't forget him. it's like a hitchcock movie. it's incredibly creepy and absolutely terrifying. finally, he had what he believed was a define inspiration. god wanted him to kill the president. there's nothing personal, he would later say, just simply god's will. as strange and fascinating and nearly as dangerous as him was senator roscoe conkling, and that's chester author. we skipped a picture. [laughter] conkling was a vain brutally machine politician who appointed himself garfield's enemy. he wore -- there he is. he wore yellow waistcoats, used lavender ink, had a curl in the
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middle of his head, and recoiled. his vanity was so outsized he was rid ridiculed for it on the floor of congress, but conkling was no joke. he was dangerously powerful. as a senior senator from new york, he controlled the new york customs house which was the largest federal office in the united states and controlled 70% of the country's customs revenue. conkling tightly controlled it within his state and expected complete and unquestioning loyalty. in fact, his apartment in new york was known as the morgue. conkling was enraged when his candidate, former candidate grant, didn't get the nomination. he was mad when he realized he couldn't control garfield. the attempt on his life was his ticket back into power. >> watch this and other programs
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online at booktv.org. >> when i got into public, sold the books, every person i worked with, i had a rejection letter from which was cool saying we love your stuff, i said, what about this? [laughter] >> in his nonfiction, ben questions the motivation, ethics, and morality of brilliant people. hissing the of mark and the creation of facebook was adapted for the screen as the social network. bringing down the house followed mit students winning millions in las vegas, and the latest, sex on the moon tracks a possible astronaut candidate who steals a safe filled with moon rocks. call, e-mail, or tweet ben live on in-depth sunday, october 6, at noon eastern on c-span2. >> all eight of your books about liberals, is that fair to say?
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>> guest: yes, the first were on the grounds for the impeachment of bill clinton, how liberals lie, and then the columns, how to talk to a liberal if you must, and that includes everything under the sun including dating tips in washington. >> slander, guilty, demonic. are those fighting wording? >> guest: i was thinking of calling this book legion or my name is legion, but a small slice of christians would understand what i was talking about, and, yeah, i want people to read my books. i put a lot of work into them. you'll learn things, see the world in a different way and understand things in a difference way, so, yeah, they get zippy title, me on the cover in the black cocktail dress because it drives liberals
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crazy. >> host: from if democrats had brains could be republicans. that could be the best in your view? >> guest: it's a quote book, yeah. >> host: one quote "environmentalist energy plan 1 the repudiation of america and christian destiny which is jet skis, steaks on the electric grill, and night skiing." steven from utah, you're on, goon. >> caller: hi, afternoon, thank you for what you have done. i descroant a question, but comments about religion between the conservatives and the liberals. the principles that have applied and acted upon are conducted to the social, spiritual, and economic well beings of individuals as well as nations and that came from god himself to mold us and formed a foundation of civil society, and they are referred to as the ten commandments, and what the liberals did in 50 years is turn
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them into the 10 inconvenient truths. go back to johnson, the great society, welfare program. he turned honor their father and mother to honor the government, and we can see what that did to the families, a lot of families, and i don't know, have you ever read the call to renew, the keynote address given by obama? >> no, but you need to read my book godless where this point is made, and that is not an inconvenient truth, no. the platform of the democratic party is breaking each one of the 10 commandments one by one by one.. . one by one by . the democratic party? yes, that's right, abortion. sticking a fork in the head of little babies sleeping peacefully in their mothers'
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wombs. thousand shalt not steal, their entire tax policy is to generate class envy and steal money, redistribute worth. certainly put no gods before me, they put every god before the real god. um, i don't think there's a living liberal who wouldn't give up his eternal soul to attend the carters' "vanity fair" party to be cited favorably in in the "new york times." the worshiping of idols is sport for, it's more than sport. it is religion of the left. their religion is breaking each one of the ten commandments one >> host: from god bless you write the orwellian dishonesty about abortion begins with the left's refusal to word it -- use the word abortion. they treat abortion when muslim street mohammed. is so sacred it must not be mentioned. the only other practice defended and unspeakable in america like this is slavery.
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>> that is true. even in places where slavery was accepted and it wasn't in many parts of the world people would not let their children play with slave traders the way i imagine people wouldn't today let their kids -- one thing to say i am pro-choice but a different thing to let your kids play with the child of a local abortionist of which there are not very many. is a repellent practice. but it is peculiar they pretend it is a constitutional right and yet we can't use the word. you don't have gun rights group for refusing to word use the word gun. as with hideous thing it is and they know it is. >> host: another recent weeks. why doesn't obama just take the same speech and have them run it every night? luann in wisconsin. >> caller: good afternoon. wonderful to talk to you. i finished reading your book and
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love it. basically a i am here from the home of joe mccarthy, scott walker, paul ryan and also bastille day. i read your book and asked people why are we celebrating bastille day? we had a lot of fun with that. i want to know one of my main question because i watch all the back and forth, so many times that if we would just follow the constitution we wouldn't be in this mess and one of the main things is the constitution. basically their vested in congress, not -- they are not desiccated. what we're going to do to bring back that and make people understand? to get our power back from we the people. >> guest: so glad you asked. this is a very important point. democrat policies are so
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unpopular democrat had to stop promoting them themselves. releasing child molesting murdering criminals for example. so instead they nominate judges and the judges are very moderate and centrist and get to the supreme court and discovered this 200-year-old document, we found one. there is a right to gay marriage and abortion and mr. li's 36,000 criminals from the california prisons. recent united states supreme court ruling. now they get the courts to do their dirty work for them and tell us it is a constitutional right. i think the only way to rain this and, the method we have been trying for the last 20 years, elect a republican president, wait for vacancies on the supreme court, get a supreme court nominee who doesn't elucidate when reading the constitution. that didn't work out so well.
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we had three republican appointees, sandra day o'connor, would have happened sooner, justice kennedy, voted to uphold the heart of roe v wade though not the precise holding of roe v wade as scalia said. i don't know how bad is following precedent. in any event what we need to do is get five of our supreme court justices. this is one of my plans for a laugh to starting gauging in judicial activism and elucidate the sort of rights equivalent to the rights being hallucinated by liberal justices so we will have a right to a flat tax, we will have a right to own a rocket-propelled grenade, we will have a right to free champagne for blondes. all kinds of fantastic rights i can think of. we will declare the withholding tax unconstitutional. then our justices can admit it is a joke because liberals never
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understand how heinous their policies are until it is done to them and the alternative plan aiken say more quickly is we need a conservative or republican executive to say in response to a supreme court ruling for example the guantanamo rulings under president bush i wish he had said thank you for your opinion. the constitution makes me the commander-in-chief. i am not giving a special constitutional right to terrorists grab on a battlefield as happened in guantanamo. >> host: a week and an e-mail. scott wagner, i like the way she flings her hair. can she still at dvd of that when she reads demonic? e-mail to and johnson. miss colder late on the line and all who disagree are in her word stupid and demonic. >> guest: no.
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some are misguided. mostly i think it is the war shipping of false idols. i think it is this desire to be considered cool and in and not have to think about anything. >> host: her public appearances are an avalanche of snarl words. spiffs serious conservatives want to be taken seriously the first thing they have to do is distance themselves from the likes of glen beck, rush limbaugh, grover norquist and and coulter. >> guest: i don't know about the other guys but not me. this is what i said about joe mccarthy. what is your point? what are you disagreeing with? that was not sweetness and light in that e-mail. this is how liberal avoid talking about the issues. the slander that they anathematized.
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don't listen to this person. don't read this person. danger. you can argue with us on our ideas you would do so. if we were despicable and snarly we would not have so many fans. >> host: in treason you wrote about how you cannot attack certain people such as casey sheehan's mother. >> that was in -- >> host: maybe that wasn't guilty. >> guest: was that guilty? i remember the theme of that. i think it was godless. it is how -- the reverse of what i just said. democrats' new technique that drives them crazy that conservatives have their own media, talk radio and the internet and fox news where you can occasionally see a
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conservative. they are approached sopping hysterical women to make their point and you can't respond to them. from sydney sheehan to the jersey girls to joe wilson. their relative who died. you can't respond. they are allowed to voice the left-wing agenda on us. >> host: next call from jordan in lexington, kentucky. >> caller: such a huge fan. i am a former college republican president at murray state university and former reagan scholarship recipient from the phillips foundation. >> guest: congratulations. nice to meet you. >> caller: that was back in 2007. i had two questions for you. i am reading demonic right now. it is my favorite of your books. i have read every one since high crimes and misdemeanors. i read it in the eighth grade. >> guest: you are a fine american and will go far.
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>> caller: two questions. is it true that your mother is actually from paducah, kentucky? >> guest: yes she is. almost down there couple weeks ago for a family reunion but i was busy with the book. >> caller: that is great. when i heard that are was our excited. i live in lexington now but when to murray state. great conservative in paducah. i haven't been able to make it to any of your book tours and you made a huge impression on me in terms of your christian faith and telling things like it is. are have been wanting an autograph of my book demonic. i can't figure out how to send it to you. >> guest: i am sure you can get it to me through the phillips foundation. >> host: what is the phillips foundation? >> guest: philip bought up my newspaper human events and
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conservative book club and other publications and gives them out. very impressive he won this award for young journalists called the reagan award. power have not -- i am aware various winners and he oversees this whole complex of which are a lot small part. you can get the book to me through the phillips foundation. >> host: next call from new york city. >> caller: good afternoon to all of you. recent act of white terrorism in norway. initially this was described on the right as muslim terrorism which was incorrect. then it was described by people on the left as christian terrorism which was also incorrect. the only way this could have
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been described is a white racist terrorist who committed an act of white terrorism in a worldwide system of white supremacy. forget christianity or right wing or left wing. that is the only way this should be looked at. to do so any other way is incorrect. >> guest: i agree with part of that. has luck would have it, i read his manifesto. not all of it. it gets a little repetitive so you can skim through some parts. i don't think -- i am aware of any conservatives who blame that on islamic terrorism. we didn't know what it was by the time we heard it had happened. he was already being described in the new york times headline as a christian fundamentalist,
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gun toting, fox news viewing i believe, and his manifesto makes clear as the caller said he isn't a christian. he used the word christian to mean non islamic. it is not specifically black or hispanic or brown people but muslims he does not like. that is it. and yes, it was very anti muslim. he talks about he wants jews and buddhists and all the people of europe to join with him in the fight against the islamic of europe. that is his big thing. whether that is connected to the insanity on some molecular level i don't know but the new york times described him as a christian fundamentalist was outrageous slander which we have come to expect from the new york times. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> host: you are watching booktv on c-span2. this is our live coverage of the
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sixteenth annual texas book festival. on your screen there, the state capitols in boston, texas. the book fair is taking place in and around the state capital. the c-span bus is here. we are t2 blocks from the state capital. several events coming up this afternoon. we have panels coming up on india and pakistan and fresh water. and dana priest will be speaking in the booktv tend. but right now here is the panel just beginning on american debt. it is as standing room only crowd as you will see in a minute. h. w. brands has a book called greenback planet. david graeber, debt, the first five thousand years of the panelists. after this is over we will take your calls. we want to hear from you on american debt. here is the panel on american
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debt. [inaudible conversations] >> fabulous to see such a large crowd here today. i wonder if it has to do with the fact that the death and the dollar are relevant topics today. we are really lucky to have two fabulous prolific writers with us today. what two topics could be more relevant than to talk about today's climate of economic crisis? david graeber and h. w. brands here to talk about their new books. are am assuming we won't have trouble getting questions from the audience but a few housekeeping things first. i hope when you are done over here and impressed with the two authors you go back to the tent next to us and by the books. in the book signing tend.
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15 minutes after the end of the session or maybe 15 seconds the authors will sign their books at the book signing tend. one thing about the festival. i don't know about you but this is my favorite festival. i love south by southwest. [applause] this festival is fabulous. the people are doing the lord's work depending which lord you are thinking about. along with celebrating books and authors the festival benefits the texas public library and literacy across the state. we need that. proceeds in the sale of all books and merchandise in the sales tend benefit these efforts. we are celebrating our sixteenth anniversary this year. the past 15 years the festival contributed $2.5 million to libraries to enrich 35,000 children in low-income schools throughout the state. i want each of you to buy the books from both of these guys
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because you will read great books and benefit this wonderful mission. i am not an expert on the debt and the dollar. i am paul stekler and are in or about politics and i found these books fabulous. i loved it when i began searching the web to figure out who david was and in the background the author of debt:the first five thousand years. you wonder about the next 5,000 years. the first description i found stated he is an american anthropologist and an anarchist. i am not sure how anarchist's get together and write these books. he holds a position of leader in the social anthropology and goldsmith, university of london. he previously taught at yale and is the author of a number of books and essays and articles for the new left review.
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dissertation work in the authors tend focusing on the legacy of slavery and endlessly fascinating island of madagascar which is partially dealt with in this book. in 2006 he delivered the malinowski memorial lecture at the london school of economics and honored outstanding anthropologist who fundamentally shake the study of our culture. we are glad to have him here today. >> thank you so much. [applause] >> secondly on this panel we have h. w. brands who teaches in texas and as far as i can tell he has written 24 books. this is the only one that is out. he is writing books most of the time. is the dixon allan anderson centennial prof. of history at the university of texas. he taught at vanderbilt and, a tee time finalist for the pulitzer prize. a traitor to his class for the
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radical presidency of franklin delano roosevelt and the first american. the life and times of benjamin franklin. like i said, 24 books. he presented eight times here. he is the past texas award winner at this festival and has not one but two books at the festival this year. if you can't get enough now come back tomorrow. that book is the murder of jim fisk for the love of j mansfield along with the book we are discussing today, greenback planet:how the dollar conquered the world and friends civilization. sound like a horror movie and maybe it is. what i would like to start out with is have each of our offers talk about the book if you manhattan are the last few softball questions and leave the hardball questions to you guys. we will have people ask those questions and keep those questions going as long as we can before they go out and buy their books. can you tell me about that? >> why do we have that?
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one of the questions i asked when writing the book is what is dead? one than i was trying to explain was the strange moral power that debt has over us. it all started with a conversation i had with someone i met at a party about madagascar. i was talking about the third world debt crisis and these debt campaigned as an activist. something that the effects of structural adjustment policies inflicted by the imf and some examples in madagascar's they cut the budget radically to pay citibank and other banks with approved interest rates and got rid of their eradication program which kept mosquitos away from the highlands and there was an epidemic in which 10,000 people died.
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the reaction was terrible. surely you are not saying they couldn't pay the debt at all. i thought about it and said this is a rather liberal lawyer that i was talking to. what other thing would cause someone to say it is sad about that -- you have to pay the debt. default? what other circumstances would someone approve of the death of 5,000 babies? something about that has absolute moral hold over us. that is what i was trying to address. where does that come from? it is a promise by a certain type of promise. it is a promise that has been corrupted in a certain sense by mathematics and ultimately by violence. you can return a promise which is a deeply personal thing into an impersonal form like a debt
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into math something that can be exactly quantified when there's an element of coercion. from their, that also makes it transferable. you can't give a promise to someone else. if you want to understand the origin of money is how promises become mathematical and the history of that is what the book is about. >> let's move from debt to dollars. >> i wrote about the dollar. i was asked to write the book but the answer to why i said yes is i had been talking about the dollar in 30 years i had been teaching american history. something you need to take for granted. pull the dollar bailout of your pocket and spend it but if you think about it a minute there's a certain magic involved because the piece of paper you pull out of your pocket is not worth a dollar. might be intrinsically worth a
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nickel or something or even better if you walk around with hundred dollar bills in your pocket because $5 becomes worth $100. are regularly asked my students why is this so? what makes this piece of paper worth five hours of someone's time? we get into the legal background. i do a magic trick -- in fact maybe i can do it now. here it is. i have got this piece of paper. not very many of you can see it but it is a $5 bill. if i take it into the cbs down the way i can exchange this for $5 of really solid stuff, food or medicine or whatever it might be done this piece of paper
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isn't worth intrinsically $5 but there's something on the piece of paper that in fact this magic and makes it worth $5. probably those in the back won't be able to -- anybody, there is a magic formula that is printed on this piece of paper that makes it worth $5. takes a piece of paper that intrinsically is worth a nickel and transforms it into something worth $5. do any of you know what that magic formula is? show of hands? anybody? somebody is waving money. u.s. treasury is ago start but that is not a magic formula. way back. legal tender! there it is! in fine print on the front it says this note is legal tender for all debts, public and
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private which means you are offering something for sale and put a $5 price tag on it and i walk in with one of these you have to take it. that is the magic. why does it work? congress can say, that is where the formula comes from, congress passed the first legal tender act in the middle of the civil war. until then dollars in american history were cooling money. they will gold or silver. there were private notes circulating that represented themselves as money but were not legal tender. you didn't have to take those notes anymore than you have to take a check. i started writing this book because it had historical interest but since it came out it has developed greater contemporary interest. one thing i say at the end of the book is the dollar is almost certainly going to lose its privileged standing as world
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reserve currency. and foreign creditors to the united states will do their best to diversify their currency portfolio. what do you know? just in the paper couple days ago reuters had a report that china has agreed with the association of southeast asian nations that trading in that block will be done in chinese yuan rather than in dollars and then i read something yesterday which flew in the face of my magic trick. it seems that the legislature of louisiana -- just happened in the last couple days -- the legislature in louisiana passed a law that says that people who sell second-hand goods can accept cash for those goods and they cannot. in the first place this strikes me as probably in violation of
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federal law because if it is legal tender it is legal tender. secondly, erases some really interesting questions about the direction of dollar. if cash is not good anymore what are we going to go to? that is a long winded way of saying -- >> that is louisiana you're talking about. >> let me from a question out to both of you to start out with. some specific questions about the books. we are in the middle of what everybody seems to agree is an economic crisis around the world and part of that crisis is the place of the dollar. the chinese currency or the euro is in any better shape obviously hasn't done very well in 20 years since the japanese collapse. we just had this incredible
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crisis over the debt crisis which you would say is not what everybody thought it was. where exactly considering where you're coming from from the history of debt and the history of the greenbacks were we getting into in the twenty-first century? is there a placement for the dollar? is this debt crisis going to blow the entire economic system? >> hard to know where to start. our attack something on to what you said. the actual amount of dollars is $0.03 which is how the federal reserve takes them no matter what the denomination. the system of money we have now it is important to remember that it took a long time for the u.s. to come to the central bank mall. they got rid of it. the basic model for how modern
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money works is the opposite of the way people talk about it in mainstream political discourse. i like to give the example of the origin of the bank of england. in 1694 a group of london merchants made a loan to the king of england to fight a war in france and he gave them the right to take the 1.2 million pounds that he now owed them and lend it to other people in the form of bank notes. that is what british pound sterling bank that actually are. i don't have any in my pocket any more but if you look at 810 pound note from the queen it says i promise to pay the bearer of a sum of 10 pounds. is not actually 10 pounds but a promise to pay 10 pounds. at that time it was worth something. the way that affected is you pay taxes or cancel the debt with a
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credit. is circulating government debt. in a way that is what money has continued to be. the federal reserve works with more snow and mirrors but ultimately the same principle. they make up money with a magic wand and landed and circulate. that money effectively is circulating government debt. as the result the government got rid of the debt entirety. there is a study under the clinton administration when they were trying to get rid of the deficit or drew a budget surplus, what happened if they got rid of the debt entirely? they concluded it would cause an economic catastrophe. you need -- banks would have to make up some money. in second periods they did do. when andrew jackson got rid of the debt it was the one time anybody has. the way the wheels are turning in the opposite direction as we think they are money isn't actually the scarce resource like petroleum or something
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where there's only so much. but how much we create and who gets it. that is the real political struggle. on a global scale is similar for most of cold war history. the countries actually were holding the treasury bond. the u.s. has this advantage it can raise checks and treat them like gold and use reserve currency by the rest of the world. there used to be west germany was one of the bigger holders and gold states and japan and south korea. they are all under u.s. military protection in one way or other. in a way the amount of debt is the same or increases with military spending so people are lending as the money to create these armies that never quite pay it back. now that china is involved is more complicated but that is the symptom being challenged and it
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is simply true that the last few hundred years the global reserve currency tended to be that of premier world military power. are don't think that is a coincidence. strikes me that that is what is being contested. the primacy of the dollar. not what currency would replace it but what would replace the u.s.'s military model. >> the question on the future of the dollar is related to the future of the american economy. david just suggested the country that has the biggest and most powerful economy is the one that dictates the terms of world finance. you can see this in the case of the united states. the united states was the most productive economic power in the world by the beginning of the 20century. at that point it remained an international debtor but during the first world war and it is always worse than bring this about, as the belligerents --
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united states tipped from being a debtor nation to the world's largest creditor. in the era of america's creditorship, lasted from 1910 to 1980 and it was during that period that the dollar and american diplomats wrote the rules of the international financial system. specifically the system that originated at the end of the second world war. at that time america's industrial production gdp was roughly equal to that of the rest of the world combined. with that kind of leverage the united states was in a position to dictate to the rest of the world. the world financial system, other currencies were linked to the dollar and the dollar was pegged for bold and the gold had was considered important because something like a gold standard has always been a check on governments from producing more and more notes. if you have legal tender.
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for the first time the united states came into effect in the 1860s and it occasioned agreed controversy because until then government could not be trusted not to just run the printing press until was useless. the government was more circumspect and won the war and was able to redeem those legal tender dollars. gold still remained a model of currency because governments can't produce it. only god can produce gold and gold remained a linchpin of world currency from 1945, an end of the second world war until the 1970s but by then the united states had slipped. it was still no. one power in the world economically but no longer had the advantage over the rest of the world that it
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had. this was inevitable. it was not the result of any particular policy decision by the united states or its leaders those contributed that lyndon johnson simultaneously decided the war in vietnam and put great strain on the u.s. budget but the larger issue was since 1945 until the 1960s the rest of the world began to recover from world war ii. the united states was in a basic way the only winner of world war ii and the united states stood atop a pinnacle of economic power. the american economy continued to grow after 1945 so you could say the top of the mountain got taller but the slopes of the mountain are taller faster so by the early 1970s america had a third world gdp and would continue to decline and it is down to around a fifth of world
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gdp now. under these circumstances it is quite unrealistic to expect that the dollar will continue to have its way that it had 60 years ago. this doesn't mean the united states will be knocked from its perch immediately and entirely. there is no single currency that is a viable alternative to the dollar. at least not at the moment. much more likely there will be a market basket of currency or the individual sovereign debt or sovereign will fund and people who have large foreign currency holdings diversify. instead of holding dollars they hold dollars and euros. more or less inevitable. there are three hundred million people in the united states and seven billion people in the world. under those circumstances things are going to even out a bit from where they were 60 years ago. >> one of the wonderful things about both these books besides the fact that both these
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gentlemen are teachers who can really write which is not something you always see in scholars, these are really great books to read. these books are also more than just an op-ed piece about that and the dollar but there histories and really interesting histories about things we don't know much about. i will put data on the spot. one of the most interesting things you wrote about was talking about that and virtual money in context of the slave trade in africa. such an amazing chapter. talk about that. >> one of the fascinating things. i discover all sorts of crazy things ranging from debt cancellation amendments in mesopotamia to free-market populism is out of sharia in medieval persia. one thing that struck me was the slave trade. when i was involved in these
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drop the dead campaigns one of the arguments is africa is the most indebted continent in the world and who is what to who? if you don't know look what you did to was which is a fair case. you make that case even stronger her if you look at how the slave trade was conducted. it was entirely carried out through the manipulation of that. the stage where people were coming in and taking people away did happen but it was often an initial stage and followed up by creating these really elaborate deathtraps so that the whole thing was a complex credits screen where merchants in england would forward funds to merchants overseas and forward funds to african merchants and everyone would be advancing to someone else until it got to the local level where one common pattern was fun and wars between people because indebted kings
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needed a way to pay back their creditors. even more common was to advance goods to get people caught in credit traps. another way was to corrupt legal system so that any crime you can enormous penalty if you can't get a penalty gets underway. there are all sorts of techniques but there's a gigantic network of that traps. it is interesting because it is important in itself. one reason, the model of what can happen in human history and other places, very rapid catastrophic version of what i call it human economies committed in 2 commercial economies. you have complex systems in traditional societies but if you look at money as an anthropologist the most common use of money in places where you
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don't have states is not to exchange goods and services which are usually complex gift systems where you dispose of your calls and require tools but they do have money and if there are quarrels or a marriage needs to be negotiated, social relations are carried out through money and what we would consider economic relations aren't. this is not the way the system can be corrupted. people show up, the way i usually put it is imagine what would happen to our society if space aliens showed up with incredibly powerful weaponry, no morality whatsoever and said we will give a million dollars to anybody who provides human workers and won't say what
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happens to them. somebody will take the bait. what they ended up doing was converting what had been monetary systems to arrange relationships between people in 2 ways of extracting people. if you want to look at how many originated in the form we have it with a process like that the probably happened 5,000 years ago in mesopotamia of which the records are lost. >> there are a number of important figures in american history that appear in your book. two of them are very important to me when i was a young political scientist doing an analysis on a populist party's rise and fall. in the midwest the most important was william jennings bryan -- you can hear recordings -- one of the great speakers of american politics. a big part of william safire's book on speeches.
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great speeches were delivered in a different way because he sounds kind of squeaky. william jennings bryan across the goal and my own political hero richard nixon. don't tell anybody. tell us how william jennings bryan and nixon affected the dollar in their own times. >> richard nixon would roll over in his grave to be compared to william jennings bryan. in a fundamental way they were aiming for the same thing. william jennings bryant became the spokesman of the populist movement in the 1890'ss and at the heart of the populist movement was a belief that the financial system of the united states was tilted against farmers specifically. ordinary people generally but farmers specifically. they had a very specific complaint, namely falling prices for farm products. the price of corn went down by half between the 1870s at 1890s.
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cotton was a little more. this was a very serious problem for farmers because farmers typically operate under conditions of that and debtors are seriously disadvantaged when prices fault. if you are a $100 when week is $1 a bushel you have to grow 100 bushels to pay it back. but if it is $0.50 you need 200 bushels to pay it back. the fundamental goal for the trick behind managing a money-supply is to get the money supply to grow at the same rate as the economy as oil hole. if you do then prices overall will remain stable. the fall in prices was a consequence of the success in the american economy. the economy was growing faster than the money supply so prices were falling.
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farmers were disadvantaged by this. their spokesman william jennings bryan claimed the way to alleviate their distress was to expand the money supply. this made perfectly good economic and financial sense but it seemed to those people who were creditors that it was a kind of theft because it devalued the dollar and meant that what they were owed was worth less than it had been the day before. the preferred method of evaluation for the populist was the real modernization of silver. their campaign slogan was free silver. what brian and the populists wanted to do was severed the connection between the american money system and gold. the problem as they saw it and they were right was there was not enough gold to go around. if we could expand the money supply by adding silver which constitutionally was part of the
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american money supply from the beginning but it fell lot of circulation, then the debt burden of farmers would be diminished and prosperity would return to the heartland. this was the goal and this became the crucial issue of the campaign of 1896 in which american voters had to make a decision. and the vote came down to a crucial decision by a new class of people. farmers were going to vote for william jennings bryant and the democrats and free silver and the owners of the big corporations were going to oppose him and free silver and vote for william mckinley and the preservation of the gold standard. the wild card was the industrial workers who worked for the capitalist the shed the standard of living of the farmers. which we would they go? all sorts of shenanigans were
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employed to get the urban workers to side with the farmers or the capitalists. when it came down to where they mated decision in favor of their bosses rather than their working-class comrades. with this, the idea of adding silver to the currency went out the window. america's grip on the gold standard lasted in the 1930s until 1971 when richard nixon did what william jennings bryan advocated by cutting the united states off for the international gold standard. nixon would be greatly chagrined to be compared with william jennings bryant but there it is. >> i have questioned about that. is it really true that the wizard of oz is about that? one interpretation of the book is all about but yellow brick road, going to the emerald city
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of oz, emerald city being green but the story that dorothy and farmer blown away from her farm, sometimes feel roosevelt in the back room, the scarecrow is the farmer with no brain and gets foreclosed on, feet in woodsman is the industrial proletariat with no hard and the cowardly lion is the political class to won't do anything about it. [applause] >> does that mean the wizard is mark hanna running the campaign of william mckinley and sat on his front porch the entire time? >> a lot of interpretations. >> this is the interpretation. it arose the same time the wizard of oz came out.
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the arthur, frank baum, never acknowledged that this was what he was doing and i don't know if he decided ok, hy didn't actually do it but if people want to read into it was a will may be so, maybe he thought it was better if he never did and it may simply have been -- it may simply have been people reading into it what they wanted to read into it. i think it was something in between. there were certain imagery that would have come naturally to anyone of populist leanings during that period. and so the fact that dorothy is theodore backwards is a stretch. you would really have to turn theodore roosevelt on his head. it is an interesting story. historians have been dining out on it ever since and frank baum is long since dead so he can't
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deny it. >> one more question and we will take questions from the audience. you can cue up over here with as much room as we have. one of the interesting things about david's book is the idea of morality. i was taken with the idea that an anthropologist writing history, world wide history and that that debt is a bad thing used effectively and politically in the last made a debt crisis in the summer time. the whole idea of comparing household debt to american debt which there may be problems with. they're not the same thing. the concept of debtors' prison which we were talking about. talk to me so we can have more questions about the idea of debt and morality. >> one thing i found which is fascinating when i was researching the ideas of debt in
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the great world religions is words for debt and see in in many languages are the same. that is true in sanskrit. is not true in hebrew but in aramaic. in the lord's prayer, forgive us our trespasses is the anglican translation, earlier translation was forgive us our debts which is what it says in the air america. just as we forgive those who owe us money. the idea is we don't actually forgive those who owe us money it. do we? that theme shows up over and over again but is intensely ambivalent. like the beginning of plato's republic which begins me opening salvo of western political philosophy starts with this -- just this is a matter of paying your debt. socrates blows that out of
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water. that is ridiculous. if not that than what? that question is asked in almost all the great religions. if you go back to the origins of hindu philosophy they start with your life is a debt to the gods. we repay for that sacrifice. but that is not true at all. you also odette your parents which you repaid by becoming a parent. you repay the sages by becoming a sage. you repaid by realizing there isn't a debt. it raises the question how can you owe something to the cosmos? that would mean the cosmos is a partner which is absurd. with absurdity you realize there's no debt. in the bible face start with morality is that but it is actually forgiving debts. through redemption and canceling
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debt. there's a great tradition of debt cancellation that is truly divine. that ambivalence for buddhist examples as well is constant and reflected in this strange gil morales we were people to act like a friend of mine at st. you can't cancel their debts. that is absurd. the idea that debt and morality is the same thing. look at world history ended is impossible to find a money lender who is not represented as evil. how do you swear that? there is a fundamental in coherence behind the way we talk about these things. the historical legacy of systems of violence we are no longer able to see strikes me that the most powerful way invented to take a relation of fear and coercion and make it seem moral -- a conqueror -- i could kill you and didn't so you owe me your life.
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therefore you owe me. i will tell you how much you owe me. i am allies guy who let you off the hook. after that you better give up the money. suddenly the guy who's the victim is running around feeling like a chump all the time. you turn the moral relation around. the only real reply is who oppose what to? will moment you say that you're using the language of that. they have to use the language of that because it is the language of people running things but they use it to slowly blow away and say that morality is something else. they have an stuck in that situation. we have to use the language of debt and we slowly move away but never completely move away from it. >> a few counterexamples to the principle that death is considered a bad thing. alexander hamilton considered the national debt a good thing. he encourage the federal
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government to take on the revolutionary war-and hamilton did this with great calculation because he understood creditors have a great interest in the success of what individuals or enterprises of the money and if the wealthy people of the united states, bondholders, if they vote -- if they were owed money by the federal government then it would be in their interest to ensure the success of the federal government. so hamilton believed the federal debt would be a natural blessing. it would insure the success of the new federal government. in the early 20th century the u.s. government engaged in dollar diplomacy. the essence of the dollar diplomacy was to encourage especially regimes in latin america to transfer of the debt that they owed european banks and bankers to american banks
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and bankers. this would eliminate the temptation of the european government to secure the debt owed to their bankers to send in gunboats and make sure the interests of these latin american countries looked toward new york rather than europe. so that is something that has been used for political purposes in american history since the united states began its business. >> one of the things you might incorporating your answer as i open it up to the question and answer period time is that means there must be a great thing we owed china. >> i could sail lot about that. >> if you of the bank of thousand dollars you have a problem and if you of the bank of million dollars the bank has a problem. >> that is how i started the book. [applause] >> the corollary is in the brave new future if the dollar is not the currency the entire world, what does it mean for our ability to buy your books later
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on? but that said let's go to the first question. >> the question is the sovereign debt in the u.s. what does it do to the future growth output of the u. s? the effect -- historically debt has been the growth of empire. >> you want to take that? >> i will give a start. to the extent that the debt is owed to non-american is what sort of terms to foreign creditors insist to roll over the debt? if china is happy to rollover the debt it is no problem.
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if china for example decides it will insist on higher interest rates or take its money elsewhere then that puts a crimp on the american economy. interest rates have to rise to attract the money and roll over the death and the interest rate the fed pays the treasury pays filter through the economy and interest rates go up. to the extent that the debt is so internally from one american to another or one generation to another in terms of the productivity -- there is the issue that takes a outside the realm of economics per se which is are there political ramifications? -- during the 1970s the arab oil producers decided that embargo shipments of oil to the united states during the 1970 war. that was not an economic
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decision but a political decision. economically they might as well sell it to whoever is willing to pay. if there should become a political component to decisions regarding america's that then that would raise all sorts of difficult and explosive political consequences. >> the sovereign debt crisis is disingenuous to compare countries in different political persuasion. if you look at the countries with a real sovereign debt crisis there almost invariably countries that don't control their own currency. some place like "the other barack: the bold and reckless life of president obama's father" -- simply agrees or argentina which control their own currency or other of things they can do or a country like america where we create currency still used as a world reserve currency in an entirely different position. we will never be in the same position as greece and
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argentina. not fair comparison. they take on a different kind and much more long term. >> just a lot of talking congress about passing a balanced budget amendment. is this successful and what would be the likely economic impact? >> if the amendment were passed or if the budget were balanced? [laughter] >> i guess both. >> if the amendment were passed it would be like passing an amendment saying we will all go to heaven. it would have about as much effect because if you look at the budget of the state of texas nearly every state has a balanced budget requirement but all sorts of subterfuges are reported to to get around that and if you think the federal budget is designed according to a rather creative accounting
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principles now, just imagine what it would be if you had to balance it each year. .. if the budget had to be cut a trillion dollars a year. >> just to add, i want to recall the whole debate under clinton. they actually had a budget surplus, and pretty much everybody across the political spectrum started looking into what that might really mean over the long-term if they got rid of
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the debt entirely, realize that this would be a terrible idea and that goes from the clinton people-to-people like alan greenspan, the ayn rand ian who started saying, you know, if you have to come up for an excuse to why he was anti-keynesian he couldn't say if there is no government debt there will be no money supply and he didn't want to say that so he said it will be socialism because there will be such a surplus that the government will have to put the money somewhere they let to buy something and logically they will buy things people want to label start nationalized everything and we will end up having a communist economy. [laughter] >> we of that room for more questions. here comes somebody. >> can you explain, can you explain what in the world is --
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>> yeah, i can. as a matter fact, which one? wampum is made from a certain type of shell, a nice white and purple clam. and it was used as largely a way of me came arrangements and contracts and peacemaking by native americans across the northeast coast, but when settlers showed up there was a very, they really didn't have access to gold and silver. they used a credit system and wampum was a way of trading with native americans in the fur trade. it became an actual currency of the trade. there is no evidence that native americans actually used it to buy and sell things to each other but it became a trade currency that was then adopted as legal tender and most of the northeastern colonies. it was in a 17th century largely. so they took this, you know,
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barely casual means of making political negotiations and turned it into money. it is rather similar to what happened in a famous purchase in manhattan which is one of those classic examples of two people thinking somebody -- something totally different was going on. dutch settlers were thought they were buying a piece of land. the people on the other side thought this was a presentation of a gift of rare exotic up as a pledge of good faith to establish political treaty which would involve the access to land. >> i will piggyback on that briefly. the fundamental money problem in the american colonies during the first few decades of american national existence was a shortage of money. the british government, the british colonial government disallowed paper money, the provincial assemblies could not issue paper money so people were stuck with gold and silver. the gold and silver are rare and they were especially rare in the colonies. and so the colonists got used to
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devising other means of currency. wampum was one. in virginia they would denominate things in terms of tobacco. in tennessee when andrew jackson won out there is a young man in his early 20s in 1790 tennessee at the time was still part of north carolina anyone out there to practice as a lawyer. there wasn't enough money to go around so his legal fees were often quoted as pay and a curse of land, so if you wanted a wheel at what cost you 80 acres and if you had litigation that would be a quarter section or something like that. so these are all sort of markers of value and there are ways of doing triangular trade. is one person wants to do something you could barter back and forth but that is a binary thing. once the economy gets more complex than that, then you have to have something that stands in for value, and gold and silver are considered the best. paper was disallowed so you would use whatever you could
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come up with. >> the by going to your book traitor to his class, i'm going to lead up to this question. if you go back to roosevelt making -- in 1933 to help the farmers who lost tons of money through the banks, the banking regulations were in place for 60 years until i believe 1993 is when our luster is congress removed the regulations on banking. my question leading up to this is the comments about deregulation or regulation by the banking industry, alan greenspan's philosophy of free markets. >> in history it is notoriously difficult to determine cause and effect but i will just say going along with what you mention, in
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1933 franklin roosevelt and congress passed a number of banking regulations trying to ensure that banks not do again what they had done during the 1920s, namely they took depositors money and they invested in the stock market. and it seemed like a really good idea. as long as shares were going up because while they might be able to land it out that 3% on mortgages, they could make 25% a year on the stock market. and they were paying their depositors 2% and pocketing the rest. it seemed like a wonderful thing until the stock market crashed in 1929. and in the depositors, who would put their money in banks rather than buying shares of stock themselves because of the perceived greater security in banks, bound that they had lost their money and they had no reward. so, under the roosevelt
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administration, the democratic new deal congress passed regulation to make sure the banks couldn't do that. they couldn't take your deposit and then go play the stock market with it. those regulations were in place until the 1990s. they were repealed in the 1990s, and eight years later we have a financial crisis of 2008. now, it is impossible to prove the yawns the shadow of any doubt that one led to the other. as i say, business is causation in history and impossible to prove because you can't rerun the experiment with a different premise. but it certainly does seem suggestive that there was nothing like 1929 during the whole period of 1933 until the regulations were repealed. and then within just a few years after the repeal of the regulation along comes 2008 which is the worst financial crisis since 1929. so i guess you could make that point as well. >> i would add one thing.
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when we use the word regulation i think it is important to remember that regulation has not stopped. we have got this weird works trap when they do regulations that banks don't like it called regulation. when we deregulation banks like it is not some our free market. is already laid and in the incredibly elaborate code which banks used in part by writing. >> the follow-up to that is, do you think that they will ever get around to regulating trading and derivatives? >> i don't know the answer to that question but i did read an article in "the washington post" a couple of days ago saying that president obama has raised more money from wall street and the financial community for his re-election than all of the republicans combined. so a democratic incumbent has ties that close to wall street, i'm not going to hold my breath for tighter regulations in the near future.
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>> could you comment on the federal reserve and its shareholders and also the current policies that have been audited or abolishes -- abolish. >> the federal reserve has been everybody's favorite whipping boy since 1913 when it was created. the federal reserve had made its share of missteps, but if you compare america's financial history during the 19th century, up until the creation of the federal reserve, and then how things were from 1913 until the present, you would see that the wild rollercoaster ride of panic in bubble and panic and bubble, there was a panic of 1819 and there was a panic of 1837, there was a panic of 1857, there is a panic of 1873, there is a panic of 1907 and then the federal reserve was created in 1913. yesterday there was a panic in
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1929 and the fed really got that one wrong. the fed allowed the money supply to shrink by as much as a third, which had devastating consequences for the economy as a whole but the fed learned from that, and the american financial system from then forward has performed a whole lot better than it did before there was a fed. now, as to the question, ron paul contends that the federal reserve is unconstitutional. and if you look at the constitution in particular, if you look at section 8 of article i, which specifies enumerated powers of congress, it says the congress that congress has the power to coin money. it doesn't say that congress has the power to print money. this is where ron paul and the libertarians say that the federal reserve is unconstitutional. now, they do have a supreme court decision in their favor.
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in 1870, the supreme court ruled, remember those legal tender notes that came out during the civil war? in 1870s the supreme court ruled that the legal tender law and the notes were unconstitutional. but before that jolt to america's financial system could work its way through the economy, to the justices retired. ulysses grant appointed two new ones and they change their minds and they said that legal tender was constitutional. so with ron paul wants to go back to the 1870 decision, that's his prerogative but since the early, mid-1870s, the supreme court had said it is constitutional so i guess we are going to live with it until we get a -- >> actually as a result of the constitutional laws, points are still produced by the federal government. it's the dollar bills that aren't.
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>> we have got time for two more questions. a woman in the wonderful jacket and a man with a cowboy had. >> hi. i'm curious to hear your opinion about the phenomenon that our current generation of students is dealing with, the graduation is pretty much what you would call eight crushing debt and would you call that a death trap? >> yes. >> and if so what do you think the impact of that is going to be? >> yeah, well throughout most of human history, sort of nightmare scenario of total social breakdown that people envisioned was precisely the debt trap. one or 2% of the population would end up with all the resources and end up leading it to everybody else and people would start falling so deeply into debt they would have to sell members of their family. their children would be pond. they would have to work for households of strangers and they might have to sell themselves to work for others into slavery and there was various mechanisms put into place to make sure that
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didn't happen. most famous of which is debt cancellation. you see mesopotamia, clean slate start over, all debts are canceled. commercial debts would often be left aside the consumer debts wiped out which we believe is another version of the same thing. the point alloys make is that you know, if aristotle were somehow put in a time machine and naturally transported to hear, he would probably think the distinction between selling yourself to work for strangers and renting yourself to work for strangers is some kind of a legalistic distinction. he would look at americans and say these people are desolate. i think they social crisis everybody is terrified for much of human history is happened to us and we have made up his language for what people used to think of a slavery is now called freedom. [laughter] [applause] that is what is happening and i think the old-fashioned remedy might be exactly that.
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>> where would you advise people to put their money today? [laughter] and what you think of the current wall street social protest? >> where to put your money today? [laughter] i don't think i'm getting paid enough to offer that kind of advice. [laughter] what do i make of the occupy wall street protest? i think it is fascinating. i am a little bit surprised that it took this long. [applause] in fact if you remember the original agenda of the so-called tea party movement was its complaint against the bailout of wall street, but biden by maneuvers that i don't entirely comprehend, it was largely taken over by the republican party. i think the republican party is starting to have second thoughts about it, but the protests of
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the occupy wall street movement remind me very much in the protests of the 1890s where it first when the populist got together they didn't have much of an agenda, but they had a sense that rings had really gone wrong. and people who work hard were not being rewarded. people who were suffering the consequences of other people's sins and missteps and in a country that was premised on the american dream, that dream became harder and harder to realize. and so they simply began to protest at first. they didn't know quite what they wanted to do, except to let people know that they were fed up with it. it is very early to tell i think what the occupy wall street movement intends to accomplish, except to get the word out that there are a lot of people that are very unhappy. the populist eventually devised an agenda. they put forward candidates.
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some of the candidates one. their highest profile candidate williams ginning bryant did not -- williams ginning bryant did not make the presidency but the platform that he ran on was in most ways actually accomplished. the united states did not monetize silver but it turned out that new discoveries in gold in the next half decade did increase american money supplies and prices began to rise again. so i would be surprised if an occupy wall street candidates were nominated and ran for president next year, but i wouldn't be surprised if the various grievances that they are airing became important in the election. >> they want us to wrap up what could i give david one second to comment on this? speaking as one of the 80 odd people that started up the movement in new york, yeah, if
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elected i shall not serve. we are not intending to do that but i think all of us would say that. the way the book and the movement are the same way, we haven't been talking about the things that are really important. we have allow the political conversation in this country to beer completely away from the concerns that people have in their day-to-day lives and i think that is what occupy wall street was about. did this change the political of the -- nature of the political conversation? if we can do that -- [applause] >> speech annie overcoming. >> this is a the handful of readers and i would recommend if you want to know more about this topic that would direct you to not only buy these books but take a look at richard hofstadter's book the age of
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reform a quintessentially important book about this but weren't these guys great? one more hand. go buy their books. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> standing room only crowd in the booktv tent here at the texas book festival for the panel you were just listening to, david graber and h.w. brands talking about debt and american debt. you can see the crowd is now leading. in about 15 minutes the next panel, live from texas look festival will be starting in that will be a panel on india and pakistan. we are here in downtown austin, texas for the 16th annual texas book festival. you can see the capital in the background. that is the state capitol. we are about two blocks down on
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congress avenue. the c-span bus is here put passing out bookbag so if you are interested in the area come on down and say hi. the next panel will begin and then there's a panel following that on freshwater and finally dana priest will be the last panelist. we want to get your reaction to what you have been hearing on the debt. are (202)624-1111 and (202)624-1115 and a mountain and pacific timezones. you can send us a tweet as we can read your tweets as well. twitter.com/booktv or add a tv is the twitter address. we will begin with a call from one upon wisconsin. you are on booktv. what did you think about that panel? >> caller: i think he was very informative and i really appreciate what they do. my idea about economics are pretty simple.
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when we are in a downward spiral, and i believe we are in an upward spiral during clinton's regime, whatever you want to call it, and greenspan basically put a top on the upward spiral by raising the interest rates, which had a lot of effect on the economy and i believe everybody took a pay cut. i did. >> host: thank you olive very much. long island new york you are on booktv. give us your reaction to what you heard. long island? i think long island hung up. so we are going to go to tennessee, clarksville tennessee. good afternoon to you. you are on booktv on c-span2. >> caller: hi. i thought this was really informative. it was very instructional in terms of the role of debt in our past come in our history, very different from the stuff we have been hearing in the last two
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years. the only thing i called about to object to come and they did support the wall street people, was one of the authors i think was an accurate when he talked about the amount of money that obama is getting from wall street. 2008 that may have been accurate. 2011/12 it is not accurate, and i don't think politicians have much choice at this point but to play the game, especially with the decision made by the supreme court, which for the first time in my life has made a doubt the supreme court. and i really want america to do well, so i wish us all well. thanks. >> host: thanks for calling in. i want to read this tweet from 64 village in. excellent panel discussion on debt. h.w. brands is on the panel. most prolific unknown historian.
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everything by him is a great read according to 64 phillies fan. our next call, getting your reaction to the debt panel is from rocks new york. high bronx. >> caller: hi. how are you doing? >> host: please go ahead with your comment. >> caller: i have two comments. i wonder if the republicans and democrats that don't want to sign the bill for obama's jobs, why don't we stop paying those democrats and republicans? if we don't pay them then they will think about people who are out of a job. they get all this money and they are not giving it back to the people to do jobs. i mean that's ridiculous. you have to work to pay taxes for the company, for the revenue to go to taxes. than the government will be --
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that is the only way. right now pat buchanan, whatever democrat, they are not doing nothing about it. why don't they pass the jobs bill? >> host: thank you for calling in this afternoon to booktv, sir. 250 authors this weekend at the 16th annual texas book festival. then texas first lady laura bush founded this festival in 1995. we are going to move onto fayette, alabama. alabama you are on booktv. what did you think about the debt panel? >> caller: thanks big-time tremendously for accepting my call. i don't call often enough because you will don't show your phone numbers down at the bottom often enough for each hour on your calling programs like speeds -- c-span weekday mornings and i wish i knew why. you want to show the phone numbers more often down at the bottom.
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i am very grateful to those authors, especially that last one on the history of debt. he was the only one that i heard. i have three questions for all of you, and i will -- i don't mean for them to be. first of all, how many of born-again christians, are committed jewish sisters and brothers and muslim and sikh sisters and brothers are in this wonderful, outstanding march that i just wish i were a part of? i'm sick and tired of the way they call these mobs on protestant radio. second, why can't we fulfill our debt to china and other countries for services in trade, even if it means their purchase of our real estate or purchases of our companies necessary? no they are not going to invade
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the united states. i have heard from i don't know how many conservative gentiles here in the rural southeast and third and finally, when will these christian enterprise institutes, the christian club for growth, when will they realize that investment in the future is investment in the country? that doesn't mean handouts to the able-bodied males standing on the street corner who refuse to work. i have heard that i don't know how many times from church laity. it means investing in children's programs, united way type programs for teenagers come investing in programs for children and teenagers in third world countries, private charities cannot do it alone. religious denominations, child partnership charities, united way institute cannot do it alone. that is real investment in the future and i challenge
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christians in the tea party to stop and think about it. >> host: caller thank you were your comments on the debt panel we just heard come h.w. brands and david graber. by the way everything you are seeing today on tv at the texas book festival will re-air in its entirety tonight beginning at midnight eastern time. coming up in just a minute is a panel on india and pakistan but we are going to take a couple more calls on the debt panel. port arthur, texas you on booktv. >> caller: yesyes, i'm a first-time caller and i think it is great that c-span gets the folks informed about money. i wish the guests could have told us what his idea was about the fact that the trending value of money in paper has gone high-tech in cyber money and now there is not even paper out
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there. my personal opinion about the occupy wall street, the relatives who pretty much say they -- [inaudible] i am pretty sure this will have be a way that they will gloss over that. unfortunately marches seldom get the results. >> host: the thank you are calling in. silver spring maryland, what are your comments about the debt panel? >> caller: hello. the discussions are very informative and the comment i have for the question i have really is, i have always understood america to be the economic and political giant of the world, the richest country in the world. how come china, which is a -- country has been able to lend money to america?
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i find that to be a little ridiculous. there has been a law prohibiting the government of borrowing money from private citizens and banks in the united states. >> host: thank you recalling an. is you can see hopefully it is a perfect day for book festival. it is about 80 degrees here in texas. is going to be bad 80 degrees to again tomorrow. booktv will be live again on sunday and we will give you the schedule just a bit later or you can go to booktv.org. we have the full schedule of events on our web site. los angeles, good afternoon. you are on booktv. >> caller: good afternoon. my question would be the authors of your books seem to be very learned and quite interesting, however i would rather shop to see that one was an admitted
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anarchists and the fact that the people there seem to be quite left-wing >> caller: that was a great interview and i wish america could have watched that. there was a lot to be learned especially the supreme court overturning that rule about the federal reserve. i am an avid ron paul supporter and there were some things about that regarding the federal reserve system that definitely needs to be abolished especially
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after hearing those interviews. so wake up america, go ron paul. >> host: thank you tampa. ron paul was a topic in that discussion we just heard on debt. well, in about an hour and a half or so, alex throught home will be in the booktv tent at the texas book festival talking about freshwater in the 21st century, very topical topic for here in texas which is suffering quite a drought. dana priest 515 eastern time this afternoon will be talking about top-secret america. now there's another standing room only crowd gathered in the booktv tent now and we are going to go over there. this crowd is here for the india pakistan panel. you will be hearing from john schmidt author of "the unraveling" pakistan in the age of jihad, siddhartha deb "the beautiful and the damned" a portrait of the new india and steve inskeep is also on the
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panel, "instant city" life and death in karachi. here is the next panel on booktv. >> good evening. hello everybody. i want to welcome you to our panel. we are going to be talking about one of the hottest issues in the world right now, and that is india and pakistan. i am lawrence wright, staff writer for "the new yorker" magazine. i want to take you back a little more than 50 years ago at the end of world war ii, and experiment was conducted with two very densely, poor countries in south asia. one of them pakistan and the other india. india was aligned with the socialist movement at the time and more with the ussr than the united states so the united
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states made a the decision that it would tilt towards pakistan. billions and billions of dollars were poured into that country from people like you, american taxpayers, to make a strong capitalistic, pro-democracy, pro-american successful democratic country. after 50 years, what was the result of that experiment? india has become the country we wanted pakistan to be. india is a rising superpower, having risen from one of the most dire economic straits imagine a full and pakistan is an impoverished failing country with perhaps one of the most anti-american agendas in the entire world. now to talk about this puzzlement, we have three very interesting writers with new books on the subject.
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steve inskeep, here, is best known to you as the cohost -- [applause] >> thank you very much. i can see a lot of you get up early in the morning. [laughter] to listen to morning edition and where would we be without morning edition? [applause] he has also found time to cover the war in iraq and the hunt for bin laden in pakistan and to write a book about all that. next to steve, john r. schmidt. [applause] john has written this new book called "the unraveling" pakistan in the age of jihad, subject he understands very well having served in the state department being stationed in islamabad in
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the days before 9/11. and on my right, siddhartha deb. [applause] normally a novelist, siddhartha has written the very impressionistic novelistic journalistic treatment of new india called "the beautiful and the damned" and he teaches creative writing at the new school. gentlemen, i just pose what is a start divide, a fault line across the body politic in the whole world, one of the most dangerous fault lines imaginabld this experiment and we put billions of dollars and much aid and what has been the result of it, india has become such a czar. what lesson do you think the
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indians have taken from this? >> wow. i think india and some sense, the idea of democracy has become more important. it is a kind of -- for over 60 years. india transformed itself very heavily but i think india contrasts itself and sees pakistan as the most qualified feudal. that is true of india as well but probably in smaller proportions. it is kind of very optimistic at the moment. certainly that is true. i'm not sure that is so much true once you go down the ladder but they up or level in some places like mumbai there is there's a great sense of optimism, great sense of confidence and maybe even some -- which may be worth
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questioning but that is the big difference. >> so steve, you spent some time in pakistan. where did we go wrong with this effort? >> well, i would like to think of that contrast, that dividing line between the two different countries in this way. i think especially listening to siddhartha reminds me that india actually has many of the same problems as pakistan, but is seen as a country on the way up. this is a country that has mass poverty and has mass illiteracy, as infrastructure problems, has severe corruption, has trouble with violence and security. pakistan is a country that has many of the same advantages as india, fundamentally the same people, not sure but aerial spirit. a lot of people want to get ahead and lot of people want to improve their lives but it is seen as a country on the way down. in my mind, some of that perceived difference is
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perception, is pr. india has got a great image and pakistan as a terrible image but some of it is real and siddhartha alluded to the very real differences. one of them is that india has managed to maintain however imperfectly, extremely imperfectly from time to time, a democracy since 1947, since the first elections i believe in 1952. pakistan has repeatedly had military coups which have caused them to start over followed by demonstrations that forced out military leaders forcing them to start over again. that has progress and has the absence of the rule of law, which i think it's fair to say is even less present in pakistan than in india. >> john you have been in the state department for much of this time. and what if we learned, america, better ability to control other societies to this disastrous experiment with pakistan?
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>> well of course, pakistan started out as a close ally of the united states, but frictions developed over the course of time. while the pakistanis seem to be much more constant in their friendships and their adversarial relationships than the united states is, where the united states tends to follow whatever the foreign-policy favor of the moment is. in the case of u.s.-pakistani relations, over the course of time we have taken positions particularly with respect to india, that they have found identical to their interest. for example today in afghanistan, they are supporting this haqqani network, the afghan taliban, because they are afraid that if they are defeated, the united states is going to leave the region, leaving behind a hostile afghan government,
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allied to india so even though they are abstinence of the allies of the united states, at the same time they are supporting groups that are killing u.s. soldiers in afghanistan and. >> that rings up this besetting problem in pakistan psychologically. i think it is paranoia. especially where india is concerned and to an american, this sense that india's sole mission in life is to destroy pakistan and everything must be done to marshal our efforts to stay in our country. and of course the army has an interest in keeping that fiction alive because that is why they are so dominant in that economy. but siddhartha, what is india's interest in afghanistan? it is driving the pakistanis crazy to have all this influence
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of india inside afghanistan when everybody knows that this is the thing that sends the pakistani overs the wall because of their fear of being encircled by the indians. >> i think india bears a little bit of one of them shipped in terms of afghanistan but the fact is, we talked about pakistan. pakistan is often dominated by the military and is often had a geopolitical idea. also foreign relations had dominated policy rather than internal questions. india has been a bit more of a mixed bag although it is not quite a nice guy that seems to be. you alluded all the neighbors have problems. is a very big country. is a very powerful country. you don't get a sense like when i was growing up inside the country i didn't get a sense of that but once i started traveling to other regions to go to places, you realize how powerful and dominant it is. so it is partly that. is partly a question of
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expanding. india's heavily involved in construction and they see it as a way of checking pakistan and i suppose in some sense they want to use afghanistan to check because there's this there is this whole question of kashmir. this back-and-forth between the two countries that has been going on for 60 years, right now india -- is as a check against pakistan in the indian part of kashmir. >> just yesterday the indian government announced that it was going to end the emergency ruling on kashmir, and mainly they say because things have quieted down. and that is true, it has quieted down somewhat although they have been uncovering mass graves in kashmir that probably have been filled by the efforts of the indian troops. if i accuse pakistan of being paranoid in the relationship with india, the complementary
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psychological block on the indians is i think complacent, sense that the status quo can endure. i am 64 years old. i'm the same age as pakistan, and so this problem has lasted a long time. we think a lot about israel and palestine in this country, but this degree of radicalism that spews out of south asia because of the kashmiri dispute is in many ways equivalent to that and john where do you see this going right now? >> well, the two sides did come fairly close in early 2007 to resolving the dispute. the problem is that they have never been able to get over the. the indian position over the course of the last basically 40 years is that the kashmir
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dispute is something that needs to be solved bilaterally, mono e mono between pakistan and india, and the pakistanis on the other hand have asked for outside mediation. the indians are ever looked into except this because they are afraid they will be put under pressure to make concessions in kashmir that they don't really want to make her go the two sides just went to their own devices and don't ever seem to be able to get over the. my own personal view is that they would probably benefit from the help of an insider but the indians are resisting a. >> i think there are possibilities in the demographics of the two countries. most people in pakistan are not 64 years old. [laughter] he doesn't look 64, does he? anyway, pakistan -- but i very much enjoy the country. in any case, the median age in
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pakistan is a little over 21. half the population of that country is 21 or younger. india is also very young. i think around 25 give or take so that means that the vast majority of the population has not lived through the conflicts that have defined the relationship between those two countries. i noticed when i have visited pakistan, siddhartha will tell me if this is also true on the indian side of the border. when i visited pakistan it seems to me one of the places that pakistanis most want to visit and grab every chance to visit his india. there is enormous curiosity about what is going on on the other side of the border. there is eagerness to do something. their efforts at the government level. there have been recent days been an announcement of the trade deal that is set to be worth $6 billion. when i heard that my first thought was, only 6 billion? these are two of the largest countries in the world.
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this is a small step but it makes me think about the fact that a solution to many of pakistan's problems in fact is india. you have one of the great stories of the past century, one of the great economic stories of the past century and if pakistan were able to integrate with that and grab a piece of that action, it would need a tremendous benefit to a country that has its wealthy people, has a successful companies but has severe economic problems and drawbacks. >> just to underline, that outcome that you outline is a very hopeful turn and i hope it goes in that direction. there are forces that are opposed to peace in that region and there are very powerful. in 2008, a group called lashkar-e-taiba created by the pakistani isi and the army went
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into mumbai, heavily armed, and killed a think 167 people, something like that. india's response was measured at that time. siddhartha what would happen if it happened again? >> i mean i hope that it would be as measured because on the one hand, there are significant differences with india and the same is true of the mumbai attacks. a government official speaking to me in new york about this, he was very upset by how the significant section of the indian upper middle class, the section that has benefited most from economic liberalization was the most hawkish and he was talking about how the government was going nuts trying to keep them off their backs. that is not something the indian
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foreign ministry or government wanted to do and they managed to negotiate that. obviously there is a horrifying attack but the answer to that is not opening up another front or setting up new. here this is a strange thing. it is often the class that is most benefited is hypernationalistic so i would actually say, does need to be an urban phenomenon. there is anxiety about the changes that andy is going through and how approve it is becoming as a society. the government operated in a more measured manner and he can see some of these things in a position to lift the emergency power. to me that is a very positive thing in india has been running the armed forces special task. it is kind of a virtual marshall law but a s
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the big danger being if they actually, if their tank armies actually did collide further to
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the south around south of punjab and the indians broke through, the pakistanis might be tempted to use nuclear weapons. this is a concern that this is actually what might happen so in effect they are really deterred. >> stevia mentioned steve you mentioned earlier about the demographics in pakistan and we have talked about the fall line of india and pakistan and the kashmiri fault line which, all these can trigger the kinds of responses that john has laid out. but, another fault line has to do with their durbin in the rural and in your book you talk about instant cities. it is itself a phenomenon so characters gives -- characteristic of these countries. >> in both countries you have massive urban growth taking place around the developing world than i could almost have gone and done the book on mumbai although there is already an
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outstanding book which i would recommend to you on mumbai but i could've gone to delhi. i could've gone to a lot of places. i could've gone to look for in pakistan and even islamabad. tremendous growth in people coming from rural areas into the cities, and the cities of course are huge. they can be crowded. they are dangerous. they are polluted. they are unhealthy. the education system doesn't work, and yet for a lot of the ambitious young people that move fair, the cities are places of opportunity. they are a chance to get ahead. they are a chance to get a good job. they are chance to get an education that however imperfect might be better than the one that is available in the countryside. but of course it creates new divisions when different kinds of people come from all over the country are actually all over south asia to a city like karachi. you have divisions you can recognize in her own hometown
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between old-timers and newcomers, people who have arrived between different ethnic groups that may end up in different ethnic neighborhoods and they have political leaders who are killing each other. and you have divides between political leaders and the people themselves. which i think is similar to the divided we just illustrated here between young people who maybe are not so wedded to the convicts of the past and are curious about the other side of the border and people who are somewhat older and established an part of the government in part of the military establishment in pakistan that may have very different view of the world today. >> siddhartha you think then that urbanization has been the key to it india's transformation and it might be offering a model to pakistan in that regard? >> i think he has an answer to the first question. i think urbanization definitely has been the key to its transformation.
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the middle classes thank you to the transformation. i imus in the middle class was created in part is it that caused a, not really a socialist country with a kind of very much state run centralized you know subsidy, heavy government subsidies. india someone who went through the screening system in india something like 25 times a month. it was a pretty decent education actually. good enough to allow me to come here. so that has been partly the state involved unevenly, not everywhere. now urbanization has begun to run into definite problems, problems i think both in india and pakistan would have tremendous environmental problems. the same with china. i think india definitely needs to rethink what it's countryside means for it because it has got half a billion people who still depend on agriculture for a living. it is not the kind of factory jobs that would allow these people to become urban workers immediately. and a tremendous amount of
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environmental degradation. that is something that unites india and pakistan. it is not so much about kashmir. is about river water, it's about floods. so there are very serious environmental questions actually that both india and pakistan need to tackle and the rural population is key to this actually because in some ways they argue that urban areas are more environmental. at the same time i don't think we can have half a million people moved to cities and it can become pretty urban in the next 20 years. >> you know, john i think about how india has been welcomed into the rural community in a way. it is really taking a place, big place that one could not have expected just a decade ago. and yet, there are trends in pakistan that seemed to be isolating us from the rural community increasingly. and in your book you lay out
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some of those scenarios. how do you see, you call it the unraveling, these trends that we have been talking about how do you see it laying out in pakistan? >> well, and a very real sense pakistan has sold its soul to the devil by supporting radical islamic groups to serve its obsession with india. after 9/11, most of the groups that it originally supported turned against it. ironically because bashir of the present at at the time decided to support the u.s. war on terror but the pakistanis have never been willing to completely cut the cord of the radical islam is because they still see them as incheon mensah foreign-policy that they can use primarily against india.
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and how they get to the point where they are actually ready and willing to cut that cord, they are going to be affected by the impact of radical islam. to my mind, it probably will require some kind of fundamental -- from india because that has always been the driving force behind their use of these groups. until that is somehow resolveresolved, i really don't see them moving resolutely against these groups. >> steve, another big fault line in this region is religion. one of the ironies of the muslim world, especially in pakistan, is a civil war that's been going on between the sunnis and the shiites which is so evident in pakistan and so much a part of your book, because it takes place on a shura.
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a shiite march and ritual that takes place each year, and how ironic that pakistan was founded by a shiite. so would you tell me a little bit about the religious divide in a country? >> yeah. it is really important that the use the term fair, civil war but there are ways in which it might be said to apply. there is tremendous -- on december 28, 2000 there was a lib religious procession down the center of karachi. mohammed was the road named after the founder of pakistan and a bomb exploded and killed quite a number of people. it was actually the beginning of the chain of extraordinarily violent events. and, one of the things that strikes me about that incident was that in some ways in pakistan it was a normal day. one of her stories i covered in karachi in 2002, i was in the
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city covering other stories and looking at the newspaper. there was an item in the paper about this big that mentioned that a shiite dr. -- shia doctor had been murdered on the street. men on motorcycles came up and shot him. the article went on to mention before it ended, very short article, that this had happened 80 sometimes in recent months in karachi. doctors, lawyers, community leaders, professionals were being killed one by one in assassinations like this. yet the entire community was being keep decapitated. it'd gotten to the point where there was another sasson nation as an item that was in the newspaper. you have a country that has turned against itself in a great many ways. you have a country and i wrote about this in "the wall street journal" just a few days ago, that is tremendously diverse.
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there are 20% of the country that are shia and an overwhelmingly muslim country but there is a tremendous variety of muslim practices. there are still christians whose institutions play an important role in some places like karachi who have an incredible variety of people. you also have ethnic and other kinds of diversity's. it is a spectacularly diverse place that has always struggled with and sometimes failed to struggle with a minority of people who have insisted that everyone must follow their version of islam, their practices of islam. they have never been a majority has pakistanis will hasten to tell you, they never win a national election. they never get close and yet they are tremendously influential and they influence the choices, the decisions, things done and not done by the politician to do windows elections again and again and again. >> well and india, which pakistan was born in such
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trauma. the separation of those two countries was bloody and dramatic and still hovers over the destiny of each of these countries. but pakistan was created as a muslim sanctuary, and it is ironic that it has become so torn by internal division. >> let me just remind people and everyone up on the stage probably knows but let me mention for those who don't, that the founder of pakistan three days before the independence of this country gave a speech which remains very famous there in which he urged his fellow citizens to live as equal citizens regardless of color, caste or creed. he said this in 1947 when that might have been a radical statement to make in the united states. he made it in pakistan and his speech is one of the founding documents in pakistan. it is maybe the greatest single struggle the country faces as to whether it can live up to that,
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live up to that promise. .. because they wanted to use them as instruments. it allowed them to get their clutches into society. we are not talking about huge numbers of people but they are able to do a lot of damage.
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>> india was left with a substantial muslim population. the rupture between these countries created one of the largest muslim countries in the world, pakistan. and the second largest muslim country in the world is india. more muslims in india than pakistan. this creates a lingering fault line between predominant religious hinduism and muslims. power is that being played out and where do you think is going? >> it is tremendously diverse. this is true of hinduism and islam and christianity and pretty much all religions. always a wide range of practices from the conservative to what
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might call sufi that are overlapping that take from these things. this is true in bangladesh. when the country was provisioned it was clear in the mind if anybody was in the and pakistan would look like. there were a large number of proposals being floated around because they were significant muslim populations in the south in the center of india and was a princely state. they were all these different possibilities floated around including big cities like karachi and baum they would become independent city-state's which in a way they might be becoming in the twenty-first century. but it happened very quickly. it happened quite dramatically and the colonial british were responsible. millions were displaced.
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four million died. it was a violent process. when the partition happened both -- they never imagined people wouldn't talk to which other across the border. it took until the 50s when border controls were put in place and regimes were instituted when the cost of energy property instituted in both countries to seize the properties of people and it was a process of hardening. in india you didn't depend as much on one religious identity. defined a nation and offered that as an option. in recent years, in 1998 when india was the nuclear testing was under a right wing government which pushed a monolithic idea of hinduism and strong sense of sectarianism against minorities whether they be christian or muslim.
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that is happening in india. it goes up and down depending on other things like the economy. >> we have been talking so much about history and another fall wine occurred to me while you were talking, siddhartha, about the past versus the future and this has something to do with the demographic you talked about. the forces of the past are so much in control of this region and you see amazing transformations especially in india that are reshaping these societies. this and extend the fall line is between the young and old and certainly between the rich and for that as these two forces where history is present all the time, how are the young people fighting for the future getting
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ahead and how are they able to manage it in pakistan where it is so difficult for young people to get educator or get out of the cast their in? >> i feel as i go around pakistan this is something i could say about the united states. the future belongs to some degree to those that are successful in defining the past. in india the past is partially defined. you were talking about india seeing itself as an ancient civilization. the fact that it got the word india seems to be a huge part of that. very simple. everyone can understand it. pakistan is a country that sees itself as having been part of india but is defining where it came from and why it was there. i mentioned the speech about overlooking, cast or creed. there are people you can meet, spend five minute in lower karachi at you will meet someone who will read the fine and a
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founder of pakistan to be a man who wanted an islamic state with sharia law. there are arguments over what pakistan is supposed to mean. they're always been arguments about what the country is supposed to mean and those arguments influence people and their choices and what they tolerate from extremists. >> that is interesting. to think that pakistan thinks of itself as a new country and it is but an old civilization. but india thinks of itself as an old country but a new civilization. there is a kind of paradox at work that must have a psychological effect on them. i was so effective in india because i went there with the presumption that things like maharajahs and the caste system
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were such a part of the past. i met so many that i couldn't believe it. they are everywhere. >> this is over the last years. [talking over each other] >> they are always there but now it has -- wealth is something to be celebrated. wealth and power. >> that brings up another fault line and has to do in india as interesting because we have the ancient fault line of cast and we have the more modern universe will fall line of class. how do those two division's work out in india? >> it has become much more unequal country in the last 50 or 20 years. tremendous amount of welfare at the top. you can increase the figures and add to them. a couple years ago there were 66
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billionaires' in dollar figures had 30% of the country's wealth. it is more unequal than the united states or china. don't know about pakistan. don't have a comparison. over eight hundred million people who still are living on $2 a day. this is beginning to create conflict. . the large youthful population and a sense that labor is cheaply available and can be disposed of. workers on strike in an automobile factory and the management says they're looking for a job. get rid of these people. these conflicts are beginning to take route and there are -- under control of mining companies or under control of groups that seized control because people are deeply unhappy. it is beginning to gain ground,
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least sense of a grand inequality and there is scrounging of wealth which is unfortunate. >> the division that inequalities built into the cities that are created right now, phillip reeves spent years in delhi, describes places where there will be upscale housing that will be surrounded by walls. they put up gates with guards over what are supposed to the public streets and the poor people who are supposed to serve them who are on their payroll like if you want someone to launder your shirt someone might cut a wall -- a hole in the wall and the church comes back through the hole. there is incredible division and you see that happening in pakistan as well. it is not as wealthy a country but it is evident that some people may lot of money in the last few years. if you will indulge me i will
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describe a physical landscape eyes of this month. there is a war at the karachi harbour which used to be known as a native jet phrase that goes back to british columbia times. it has been rebuilt and we crescent. it is a row of upscale restaurants and stores on the water, kind of a disneyland division of pakistan in the middle of the actual pakistan. you have to pay 300 rupees to get in which is only $3 or a little more but that is more than a lot of people make in a day. parallel to the development there's a bridge where thousands of ordinary karachis used to look over the harbor but it overlooks court grand and they have built a metal wall will wake of the bridge so that
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nobody on the bridge can look down at the affluent people or take potshots. you are building in the quality in these cities being constructed before our eyes. >> i want to add that pakistan is a profoundly feudal society and still profoundly agricultural society. most of these young people who dominate pakistan numerically still live in the rural countryside. the politics of the nation is dominated by wealthy landlord popularly known as futiles whose goal in seeking electoral office is to gain access to state resources which can be shared out among their members and yet generation after generation of pakistani voters continues to vote for them because the politics of the country is itself a reflection of the underlying futile culture.
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>> do they have a choice but to vote for their feudal leaders? >> they could vote for the religious party. they could vote -- >> is there an expectation you must vote for who the leaders want you to vote for? >> there are only a set number of parties that run but they do totally dominate the political discourse of the country. if you are going to vote you will either vote for what the pakistani skull futiles or you will vote for one of the religious parties which have never done as well. those are the only choice is. in my experience there is nothing on the horizon in pakistan likely to change that other than the threat from radical islamics. >> that brings me to another fault line that to some extent we, the americans are somewhat to blame. we have given billions of
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dollars to pakistan since the cold war. the preponderance of that amount of money has gone to the pakistani military and their intelligence agencies. this is a country, pakistan, of more fewer than two million to pay taxes. american tax dollars are incredibly important to them. in my opinion the relationship between the civilian population and the military population in pakistan completely unbalanced the situation as a result of our generosity. and what has happened to that money? during the jihad in the 80s about half of the money we were falling into the mujahedin for a pakistani intelligence service went to bolster their nuclear
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program. this is one of the poorest countries in the world and will soon be the fourth largest nuclear power eclipsing britain and france. they use a lot of that american tax money to create the taliban and other proxy militias that john has eluded to. notably one that could become an even more dangerous menace than al qaeda because it is a state-sponsored terror organization. american tax dollars have done all that. i would like to address the question of the relationship of the civilian community and pakistan for this is the military establishment and what america's posture should be going forward. >> it is quite clear over the decades that the pakistan army
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has dominated the pakistani foreign policy and pakistani civilian governments mess with it at their peril. on the other hand also think it is important to point out that the civilian leaders of the country have particularly recently abrogated responsibility to the army. pakistan has been at war with these pakistani taliban who inhabit the tribal areas and are close to al qaeda. over half a decade, the civilian authorities refuse to for any money into building up civilian security apparatus to try to deal with it. they said to the army to save us. it is not simply the case that the army totally dominates everything. the civilians are complicity in
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army power as well. it has become increasingly the case as pakistan has become increasingly threatened by internal radical groups that have turned against the state. >> i would be interested, it would be great to sit down with the president of pakistan and try to understand what he is doing in relation to the military of that country. this is a guy who was a leader of a party that took power after a military dictator was driven from office. it is a country where the military remains basically popular but there are conflicted feelings about it and people are very hostile to the notion of the military being so involved in politics and the economy as they also are. and yet he has not been able and his party has not been able to marshal enough power, enough political support to really
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alter the military's position that much. early efforts were made and he backed away. >> the best example is he tried to make the i s i a civilian institution in less than a day. it was a naked know you can't and he backed away from that and never missing the leverage. >> the dilemma we face and pakistani civilians face is the pakistan army is as a matter of fact the only force in pakistani society capable of preventing it jihadists takeover. if you hear a policymakers that is not a very good position to be in because what are you going to do? go after the pakistan army you weaken the only force capable of preventing the bad guys from taking over. not a great situation. >> i would like to pose to you and others on the panel that
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there would be little difference between what we have now -- the pakistani army is clearly hidden bin laden from us. when i was in the shower in 2004 there was a firefight in the tribal ariane and they said they had al qaeda surrounded. they had ayman al zawahiri, then they said they captured his son. this is interesting because he doesn't have a son named dr. led. the next days he is talking and then there is no more news. i thought what is going on here? then i realized the pakistani army was looking for bin laden's business and if they found him they would be out of business. what happened?
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we found him. where was he? he was a city that is one of the most militarized cities in the whole country if pakistan next to their most elite military institution and a town that is full of intelligence and army installations. it seems fairly clear they were trying to keep the golden goose close to home. that is my opinion. then the question is are these our allies or are they our enemies? this is something both of these nations are trying to sort this out. this is a real profound question. just the other day with a high-level delegation going to pakistan to sort out this problem with the warning that had never been more sternly delivered i think we will find out pretty soon whether this relationship -- steve, you might have some thoughts on that.
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>> i am not sure i am as comfortable saying with such definite that military leadership in pakistan knew where bin laden was. i would ask would they make a calculation that the risks outweigh the benefits on that? >> i agree with that. >> there are some questions in my mind about whether it there are fault lines within the military itself. the kind of fault lines we have been discussing. american military officials i talked with repeatedly expressed confidence for example in the head of the armed forces and some of those same officials. admiral mike mullen comes to mind. made specific accusations that the military is supporting ha a haqqani the network. why would the intelligence service be doing that if he doesn't like it? quiani had to be a politician
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this year like everybody else. there was word of almost an uprising among the junior officers in the military which forced him to be more severe on the united states and retaliating for the raid on bin laden than it was said he was supposed to be. everything i said comes out of a hall of mirrors. is difficult to understand what is going on in the military high command. they do not make themselves open to outside scrutiny and they have given very limited access to the civilians who theoretically controls them. i am trying to understand the pakistani military as a complex organization. and just as politicians have to respond in some way to their public even if they are not democratic politicians it could be the generals in some way have to respond to an institution where there are islamist forces along with a wide range of other forces that are contending with each other. >> my view is they have always
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been willing to help us against al qaeda. i actually think it would have been to their advantage to have arrested or killed bin laden if they knew he was there because then that would spur u.s. forces to leave afghanistan, beating the afghan taliban has a check against indian influence in the country but what they have never been willing to do and still are not willing to do and no matter how much pressure we bring to bear probably will not do is go after haqqani the network because that would pose an existential threat to their country by leaving afghanistan surrounded by india on both sides. >> we left a little time for audience questions. this is the microphone. we have our first questioner up here. please don't make any speeches.
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just questions if you don't mind. >> what is china's policy towards india and pakistan and do you think that will have any influence toward what is happening with those countries individually and their relationship with each other? >> that is absolutely true. that is an orientation taking place. china has been close to pakistan traditionally and suspicious of india. but china is definitely making efforts to rule everybody in asia. you see that in the state visits being made. it is even being conciliatory towards japan with which it has a more complicated history. so china is definitely a big player in the region. some of the interactions between india and pakistan and china is the tenth of the united states. a declining player in the
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region. especially afghanistan. >> china has been masterful in the way it dealt with pakistan. unlike the united states which has been hot or cold, china has always been sort of nice and helpful but they have never overpromised the pakistani and never threatened them. and quite frankly china is unlikely to come to pakistan's aid should it come to blows with india or the united states. it is not willing to do that. it also has its own radical islamic problems. a group that has taken refuge with the taliban and al qaeda in pakistan's tribal areas. they are aghast at what is going on in pakistan themselves and worried it might spin out of control. >> they built a friendship
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center and did some business investment. they don't get on the hook for $20 billion. >> pakistani of done that. >> using that to save this is the alternative but the chinese have not been so warm. >> nato -- exit strategy from afghanistan. is the group going to leave in large numbers? do you think it will help ease the problems in pakistan or intensify problems and pakistan? >> i don't think it will have much of an influence. the pakistanis are at war with their own brand of pakistani taliban and lots of formerly loyal jihad groups which are carrying out these domestic
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terrorism attacks inside pakistan so i really don't think it is going to make that much difference to the pakistanis. what they would like to do is come up with a situation in which there is enough afghan taliban influence in the country for the haqqani network to serve as a check against indian influence but don't what the afghan taliban calling the shots in afghanistan either because they don't want to go back to the period that existed before 9/11 because that was a disaster and they don't want to repeat it. >> i would like to think if the u.s. withdrawal leaves to acquire situation in afghanistan that that might provide breathing room and less media craziness from pakistan. a little bit of space but that is if the u.s. withdraws leading to a quieter situation. we don't know that. >> one of the observations i
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saw, a colleague of mine -- >> are you pakistani? you are indian. >> when it happened, when the margin happened, all the progress went to europe. could that be the between the two countries? >> there's a bad joke that pakistan is an army with a state. it is a bad joke. i don't think -- steve might be able to shed light on this because he wrote about karachi. a lot of these people from the
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indian part went to pakistan. and set up their lives all over again. >> an excellent history called india after gandhi. a lot of ambitious muslims from all sectors of society moved to pakistan seeking opportunity. it is an undeniable tragedy that so many hindus left pakistan people of other faiths when the country could have used them. >> it is important to keep in mind the pakistan army became powerful initially because of the arriving of the kashmir dispute with india which caused the leaders of pakistan to believe they needed to create and maintain a large powerful army. the army was subsequently able to take advantage of the political vacuum that subsequently appeared in the country and they have been
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powerful ever since. >> we supported the military in pakistan and commented that easier in the good old days to talk to straight talking pakistani generals and while the indian bureaucrats and politicians. the u.s. played a large role in the ascendancy of the pakistani military. you can't forget that. that is one of the things that upset the pakistani. >> the first two army chiefs of pakistan were brits. >> if any of view no i am zoroastrian from karachi. i am related -- [talking over each other] >> i am not a political analyst. i'm an engineer. >> they could use the electrical engineer more than the political analyst.
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go ahead. >> my loyalty is to the united states. i naturalized citizen but in the last decade or so what has happened in my place of birth, karachi, a lot has been happening. the mischief by outside forces was a portion that was not addressed. >> you are talking about american mischief? that what your pointing to? >> to ask the question -- no. i said outside forces. it could be whatever. you guys are reporters. at least you are. and listen to you diligently and you're a good supporter. the mischief is not identified for the american people. i happen to listen to the
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presentation from the pakistani reporters and with hillary clinton and all that stuff. my question now is for these analysts is where are the pakistani representative? this is a conversation that you guys are presenting an intellectual discussion over here. i came because the comment before me was as the partition -- pakistan got some kind of military. that is not true. it might have a few seats but the actual partition -- pakistani did not get anything. >> there were military officers. >> my question is the first twenty or thirty years pakistani is were really friendly with the
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united states. something has transformed not from the pakistani side. the politics might have played a game. that is what i call a whistler campaign or something is not known or something is not visualized by the local american people and that is also talked about in comedienne and that is the problem. >> let me acknowledge. thank you for your question. let me acknowledge i am an american and i was not born in pakistan and it is a fair question of you to ask where the pakistani are in this discussion and i am glad you are here. when you talk about outside forces that is a phrase sometimes used in india and sometimes the united states. i think you are asking about the united states are more answer. >> i'm not. not only about the united states but about -- >> let me answer it this way. india undeniably has had a rivalry with pakistan.
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undeniably has a powerful intelligence agency that has been involved in many ways all over south asia. united states undeniably has been involved in pakistan in unhelpful way is. they supported military dictators going back to the first one. they supported the hottest groups which were used to fight the soviets in afghanistan based on pakistani soil. at the same time, it seems to me as an outsider that the accusations against outside forces get a little vague and go beyond the evidence. when i was in pakistan in may there was an attack, pakistani military base in karachi and a serving pakistani military officer wrote in the newspaper publicly under his own name, spilling out a theory held united states was probably behind the attack at the pakistani military base apparently as part of a conspiracy to destabilize pakistan so the u.s. would have
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an excuse to seize pakistan's nuclear-weapons. i have yet to see evidence that when the government is trying to stabilize pakistan that the u.s. government is also trying to destabilize the country. even though grave mistakes have been made. >> let me say this. i care a great deal about pakistan and what happens to it but i will end with this. ultimately the pakistanis are the authors of their own misery. >> something you as a reporter -- something you as a reporter also placed in the peanut gallery which means america's population but i am using the word outside forces. you need to go dig into what those outside forces are. it does not have to be only -- >> we have to wrap it up. i want to thank all of you for
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coming. this has been a very stimulating panel. [applause] >> the authors will be assigning tend to signing their books so don't hesitate to run over there and get your copies. the proceeds will be going to help support the library. thank you all again. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> you are watching booktv live coverage of the sixteenth annual texas book festival here in austin, texas. that is the state capital. two blocks from where we are on congress avenue in downtown austin, texas. we have two more panels from the
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booktv tend and that will be at 18 talking about freshwater and dana priest in an hour-and-a-half. she will be talking about top-secret america. she is with the washington post and she will be speaking at the booktv tend. we bring those live. we are joined here on booktv by author steven fenberg who is the author of "unprecedented power: jesse jones, capitalism, and the common good". there is a picture on the front of your book of fdr and another gentleman. to the other gentleman? >> jesse jones. somebody nobody knows about. he has been forgotten which is quite unusual when you consider that during the new deal and world war ii he was considered to be next to franklin roosevelt the most powerful person in the nation because of his position as chairman of the reconstruction finance corporation which was an
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organization herbert hoover had started at the end of his term as a last-ditch effort to combat the catastrophe of the great depression. jones was appointed as director of the rnc which is so relevant today, he would say hoover had been too timid and slow and if it had loaned and invested 1 to $2 billion in 1931-1932, jones says much of the great depression could have been averted. i think that is so relevant today when we are grappling with the role of government. how much should it be involved in restoring our economy? how much should be involved and how much should it be withdrawn? >> it started in 1932. how much did invest and where? >> it invested primarily in banks, insurance companies and railroads. it made loans. as soon as franklin roosevelt
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was inaugurated within days of his inauguration the emergency banking act was passed within seven hours by both houses of congress. when you consider today how much it takes to get legislation passed it is quite unusual to consider it was done in a short period of time but it was an emergency. one of the provisions of the emergency banking act allowed them to start buying stock in banks and that was the turning point. jones and the irs see began capitalizing the banks to lend again. the only trouble was the bankers ordered the cash and wouldn't lend it which was what was needed to turn a frozen wheel of the economy again. instead jones said he is giving you a chance. would give the private sector chance to restore the economy. and when the private sector wouldn't take action the government had to step in and most of the time through the r f c and jessie jones. the bankers were not making the
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loans. jesse jones and the r f c had to make the loans to industry. >> why was jessie jones appointed head of the r f c? >> hoover saw what he had done in houston. your castrated a bank rescue that prevent all the banks of houston from failing during the great depression. the got all the business leaders together and convinced them to create a pool of funds to stabilize these tottering banks. jones knew if they collapsed bank not just in houston but in three or four states would shut down because smaller banks kept these deposits in larger banks in houston. i think hoover stop this community-based efforts where the citizens of the community gathered to save their banks and hoover liked that kind of community-based volunteer action. the trouble was it could not be duplicated nationwide to solve
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the great depression. >> jesse jones was the chairman of the democratic finance committee. >> 1924-28. >> appointed by herbert hoover. >> it was a bipartisan board. jones was one of the democrats on the bipartisan board and also good friends with john garner who was speaker of the house and he recommended hoover to -- recommended jones to hoover and when hoover asked for a list of democratic appointees he gave a list with only one name and that was jessie jones. >> what was his relationship with fdr through the 30s and 40s? >> a good relationship. contentious at times. i think fdr resented his power and tried to rein him in but it never worked because jones had given money through the r f c to every congressional district in the united states. congress was beholden to him. the press loved him.
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he was well spoken and could turn a phrase. he was great in the press. they put him in political cartoons and newspaper articles. he was well liked and they saw that he was helping the nation through these new deal agencies but what was so unusual was they were making money for the federal government. that is probably one of the most important things to look at jesse jones's work during the great depression. he was forming and managing these agencies that were helping millions of people, saving homes, saving farms, building bridges and at aqueducts and developing the latest high-speed trains and making money for the federal government. this is so relevant today and so important for us to look at so we can learn what he did as we grapple with our own economic recovery. >> he had independent power. is that legislation was written?
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>> i don't know that it was written that way but it worked out that way because he had his power of the purse through the r f c because it made so much money i think the evening post road said he could write a $2 billion check which was a lot more than it is today. and it wouldn't bounce. he could lend and invest however he wanted and half of the government which is why title "unprecedented power: jesse jones, capitalism, and the common good". >> you write in your timeline that jessie jones would set the price of gold. >> with franklin roosevelt and secretary morgan. in contemporary writing it is derided and they say these men were taking numbers at random and having fun and didn't know what they were doing but don't tell the intention or the result of it. they just say this one thing that derived the new deal. they were hoping it would lift the price of commodities because
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we were in a deflationary period. they thought if we lifted the price of gold it will lift the price of all other commodities and they stopped the program because as roosevelt said early on this is the time for experimentation. it is a disastrous event. we have to figure out what to do and how to do it. if something doesn't work we move to something else. within three months they stopped this program but it made over $100 million for the federal government. >> take a to 2008 and compare what happened with the r f c with what happened in 2008 with t.a.r.p. and the bank bailout. >> there are a lot of parallels. one thing that is different is when jesse jones would invest in banks which we did in 2008. we bought preferred stock in banks and people were saying it is socialism and this is horrible but we didn't do it with much control whereas when jessie jones did it he had so
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much clout that he would set executive salaries at a low-level so if you are taking government money you can't make extravagant salaries. he would say you can't pay dividends until stocks are repurchased by your bank. even in the case of railroads which he helped refinance he would dictate ready owners of the railroad line had to live. he didn't want them near the new york bank which is to they were beholden to. so they could reinvigorate them and make some work well again. >> what is jessie jones known for in texas? >> not much of anything. he is kind of forgotten. he owned newspapers and was a big builder and built the tallest building in houston and the most lavish hotel and ornate movie theater and the houston chronicle but people don't remember him today like we don't know much about history today. we forget what came before us to our own disadvantage. but i hope this book will bring
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him back not just for the great things he did in houston but for the nation. when he came to houston in 1898 the town had 40,000 people in it and when he arrived it was at a time when everything was locally owned. the banks and newspapers and insurance company. the business leaders knew they would prosper only if their community thrived and jones quickly embraced that approach to business and expanded it to national service. >> where did his political demise happen? >> as far as -- roosevelt's administration when roosevelt appointed henry wallace replaced jones, that was the beginning of the end for jones in public service on national scale. >> what do you do in your day-to-day life? >> i work with you stand endowment, be philanthropic foundation mr. jones established
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with his wife mary gibbons jones. it is another great example how jesse jones used the wealth he acquired through capitalism to enhance the common good. he gave all his buildings and businesses. houston chronicle and the right hotel, the house in new york city built, all of these were donated to the foundation and to accuse the endowment has no assets of $1.5 billion and since mr. jones established houston endowment it has donated $1.5 million to help create a community where the opportunity to thrive is available to all. >> houston resident steven fenberg has written about jesse jones. "unprecedented power: jesse jones, capitalism, and the common good" is the name of the book. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> a couple hours of live coverage continues from here in austin.
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a few minutes we bring you prud'homme talking about "the ripple effect: the fate of fresh water in the twenty-first century". a good issue for texas in the drought they are facing. dana priest will talk about her book "top secret america: the rise of the new american security state" after that. we will be back with live coverage from austin in a few minutes. >> spend next weekend in knoxville, tennessee with booktv and american history tv and look behind the scenes at the history of literary life of the marble city on booktv on c-span2. the university of tennessee's body farm is four acres of decomposing human remains. dr. william pass on a real live
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csi. a look at routes author alex haley and his life in knoxville. and cathy long on how really fell in love with his city in a 1982 visit. on american history tv on c-span3 a visit to the sequoia birthplace museum. director charlie road to the harbor explained, indian silversmith created a system of writing for the cherokee language. a visit to secret city. oak ridge national laboratory steve stone on the last part of the development of the atomic bomb. is knoxville true southern city? historian bruce wheeler on history and future saturday at 11:00 and sunday at 6:00 eastern. watch throughout the weekend on booktv and american history tv in knoxville, tennessee. >> host: what a you write this book slave of allah and why write it as an anthropologist? >> i have done field work in
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france before 9/11 and in the 90s for ten years. i did field work in an area nearby where zacarias moussaoui grew up and in october of 2001 i read an article. somebody had been picked up before 9/11 at a flight school in minnesota and i realized he had grown up in this area which i was familiar with that he had a background i knew something about. he is the son of moroccans who had moved to france before he was born that had difficulty growing up in an area that was not receptive to north africans. >> host: what was your relationship with the people involved in this trial? how did you cover the trial? what was that process? >> guest: i was the only
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academic to think of going to this trial. i had a friend from graduate school who told me she had a connection to the trial and i learned quickly that anyone was able to go. any person could go as long as there was space in the court room. so i thought i need to go there and the trial was in alexandria, virginia, in the eastern district court. that site was chosen because the pentagon was in that district and they were trying to have the trial somewhere in the same area where one of the attacks had happened. i got to be at the trial. actually the initial jury at two phases of the trial. i got to know the members of the press. there were no other people there the second time i attended the trial. i got good insight into the way in which the press was writing
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about this person. >> what role did the media play during the trial? did their coverage affect the outcome? >> guest: the jurors were told not to read any coverage. they did go home at night. they were not sequestered. they were told read nothing, talk about nothing. don't talk to your family. if you go to work like on friday they could go back to their jobs don't talk to anybody. there are a few people on the jury who said when they were being interviewed i don't do news or read the news so there was an attempt to keep the jury separate from the press. the nation was reading the coverage and it was being covered by al-jazeera in the arabic speaking world so people
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were following this trial. the french media were particularly interested especially as it came to decide whether he would get the death penalty or spend life in prison. >> host: you write about the unexpecteds. there were a lot of unexpected events. took longer to go to trial than people thought. there was witness tampering. what was the last thing the effect and did public perception change because of that? >> guest: it was deemed a circus for awhile because there were so many attempts to start the trial and they decided to put it off. there was an attempt to get witnesses like khalid shaikh h mohammed to give testimony or interview him through other means and that was prevented by the u.s. government. there was no way those people could be interviewed. there is a legal fight with the judge threatened to throw the case out. was up to the supreme court and
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came back down and a decision to have interviews with people like that be rewritten into a format that the defense and prosecution to allow to be presented to the trial. >> host: you are writing from the point of view of an anthropologist and raise the question of representation. national and personal identity. what can we learn about representation? >> guest: i argue in this book that he had three -- was attempting to represent himself three ways. one was legally. for 17 months he represented himself and fired his defense attorney. so there was an issue of legal representation. did he have the right to do so? the judges decided yes. he did quite a good job for a while and he got stalled out of the proceedings. he would write his own pleadings in hand writing because he was
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not allowed another means of doing so and he would write these which you can read online on the web site which were full of jokes and plays on words. finally the judge had enough. that was legal representation. that his social representation. who was he in terms of nationality and religion? he was beginning to say i am not french and have nothing to do with them. i am a member of al qaeda. he tried to make that clear to the public. he knew the public was reading -- there was his own personal representation. who is this person? he was explaining who he is and how he thought so the way in which he managed to get around that was as the judge left the courtroom, he would wait until she was halfway out and he would stand up and say something like
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god bless allah or long lived s osa osama. and media would always try to figure out what it was he was saying and write it all down and publish it in the newspapers. >> host: 9/11 was a day that affected the most people in america in some way. how do you separate yourself from the coverage and the news media and whatever feelings you have to put together this book? >> one thing is the trial was in 2006 so it was five years after 9/11. i had not an immediate family member but new people who died horribly. you get into the courtroom setting and somehow there is a way of removing yourself from those personal feelings. i think courts are designed to do that but the prosecution would try to bring back all those memories especially when
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mayor rudy guiliani came to testify. he was determined to personalize the impact of 9/11. i was not in the courtroom but website has coverage and footage of horrifying images. you just figure out how to find the person behind this excruciating experience. to was this man? that is what i tried to focus on. >> host: it has been ten years since september 11th. have we learned anything from this trial as a country? what can we still learn from this case? >> we haven't learned that we can have a trial in civilian court. instead there's going to be this move to have trials in guantanamo. this trial was extremely expensive and the government released amounts in millions of
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dollars. was very expensive. on the other some of the reporters covering this case particularly for the arabic tv press through the bbc said to me that he was amazed at the fairness of this trial. he had the right to speak. he had the right to make -- he was not taken out and hand or executed. he could speak. and the judge to her credit bend over backwards to make sure he had those rights. there are certain rights in the u.s. court system and our hope people will realize in the military commissions that similar rights need to be afforded to those people. >> thank you for your time. >> when i started to sell my book every person i worked with i have a rejection letter from which was kind of cool. you go to a meeting and we love your stuff and i was like what
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about this? >> in his nonfiction, been questions the ethics and morality of brilliant people. his account of mark zuckerberg and the creation of facebook was adapted for the screen in the social network. bringing down the house follow the group of m.i.t. students who won million to las vegas and his latest, sex on and track a possible astronaut candidate as he steal a nasa say filled with moonrock. is your chance to ask questions. call, e-mail or tweak live on in depth sunday, november 6th at noon eastern on booktv on c-span2. >> booktv on c-span2's live coverage of the sixteenth annual texas book festival continues from the state capital of austin, texas. we have a couple more hours of live coverage here and tomorrow we will be live again all day long. as you can see the c-span bus is
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also here. we are passing out book bags if you're in the austin area. we will be again tomorrow. coming up next is alex prud'homme who has written a book called "the ripple effect: the fate of fresh water in the twenty-first century" about the state of fresh water in the twenty-first century. he will be speaking in just a moment and then dana priest will be talking about top secre be talking about top secret america. now to the booktv tend for alex prud'homme. [inaudible conversations] >> hello and welcome to the sixteenth annual texas book festival. i am richard parker and we are honored to have as our guest alex prud'homme, author of my life in france. alex has had his work published in the new york times, the new yorker, fanti fair, talk and time. today we discuss his recent
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provocative book "the ripple effect: the fate of fresh water in the twenty-first century". .. >> thanks richard. it is great to be here. hello, austin. very nice to be here in the city. looking great. let me start with the second question, how did i come to write this book? the basic answer is i have boys been interested in water. i'm a water guy. ever since that was a kid
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growing up in manhattan looking out my window at the hudson river, water has been part of my consciousness, but the specific moment that i began this book was when i was working with julia child on her memoirs and we were having lunch one day and sharing a bottle of french mineral water. we got into an interesting discussion about how americans view bottled water which is essentially is kind of a healthy so-called beverage versus the french, who seem mineral water as a healthy digestive and they actually buy bottled water based on the minerals that are in them and they prefer certain waters for their taste and they are alleged health benefits. so i thought, this is an interesting idea for an article and in then that night we had dinner with her niece who is married to a hydrogeologist, kind of the indiana jones of water. he goes round the world doing fantastic water projects and he started telling me about how
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water is becoming the crucial resource of this century. you know waters with a call and acts as resource meaning it is a resource that underlies all others. whether you are building computer chips or you are farming alfalfa or you are building homes or you are hydrofracking for gas, whatever does all these resources require vast amounts of water and as the climate changes, and as the population grows, as diets shift and demographic shift brings more people down to this part of the country, our water supplies are coming under increasing pressure. no one is really paying attention to this in a large-scale. so i suddenly realize that this was more than an article. it's a book. so i set about trying to educate myself. ended up going across the country reporting. i started in new york city where i'm based, went down 600 feet underground where the city is rapidly building a new large
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water, because the two existing ones are so old they are about to collapse. people in new york and understand that area much like los angeles, we get our water from hundreds of miles away and without water you don't have much of the city. i went up to maine and learned about bottled water and went to new orleans and learned about the levees that collapsed during hurricane katrina. i went to nevada and came here and went to tech jealous and met with mr. t boone pickens and heard about his plan to privatize water from the ogallala aquifer. went to california and out to alaska. this was an amazing adventure and i met all sorts of fascinating people. my original plan was to go around the world but i realized i really didn't need to do that. there is so much happening in water right here in this country that i had more than enough material for this book and furthermore, everything that is global is local now so the pollution we have in brooklyn new new new york white house is the same pollution that is bedeviling a place like china.
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bottled water is an issue here as it is in europe and so on. so i decided i had plenty of mature -- material so i started to crunch the stuff down and try to tell it in a narrative way, a magazine way that would be kind of informative and entertaining and take a somewhat serious subject, very serious subject and tell it in a compelling way. and i had all sorts of different titles for the book. it was originally called troubled waters and that it became clean, clear and cold and it went arose which of things. i finally decided to call it subon which was a chapter title, because i realized that every time we use water that sets off a ripple effect. a series of consequences that most of us are unaware of. in america, we are blessed with an amazing water system. we have gotten very good at
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capturing, treating, transporting water and then treating the waste afterwards. and we have become so good at this that we have begun to take water for granted. we have sort of forgotten about it, but when you look closely, every time we use water even the simplest things, we have an impact on our water supplies so for example if you wash your hands with antibacterial soap, you think you are doing the right thing. you are trying to clean your hands as well as possible but what you don't realize is those antibacterial agents often survive the treatment process to get into the environment where guess what? they are antibacterial and they start to kill off bacteria which is the foundation of the food web and also there are good forms of bacteria that help fish protect themselves from disease. so when you strip those good bacteria away, it has a huge series of consequences. the same thing with something like an herbicide. you want to get rid of the
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dandelions on your lawn and you spray something called atrazine on that. turns out atrazine is the so-called endocrine disruptor and it can cause fish to turn what is called intersex, meaning male bass developing eggs in their and this is sort of this new discovery that we have heard of in the last two years. it is a horrifying sci-fi dystopian discovery and scientists are quite worried about it. why? well it turns out that the human endocrine system is very similar to a fishes, and so we don't know what effect endocrine disruptors have on the human body at that they are trying to find out. similarly if you just power up your computer or you turn on the light, power generation requires a huge amount of water. so on and on. there are many consequences to our water use and the more i thought about this the more i realize that you know for many years we have taken our water
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for granted and we have pled ignorance. we have sort of said we don't know what impact we are having. we have kind of stuck their heads in the sand and hope that everything will be alright but the reality is now, we no longer have the luxury of that ignorance. we do in fact know to a large degree what our impact is on the water supply. i got to the point where i felt like we no longer had time to be so laissez-faire, so i can if you like a crazy guy in the roof yelling and shouting and saying, hey everybody pay attention. water is the fundamental resource. it is essential. is not like oil. it is something we need to survive. and i hope we'll start paying attention and learn to value our water. [applause]
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>> alex covers an entire universe literally of water in this book and the purpose of our discussion we are going to talk about several key elements in the book at least the way i have read it. we are going to talk about drought which means a lot to us in texas obviously. we will talk about flood wallaby which i found to be the most shocking part of the book frankly because i like most of us have begun to think our water quality was pretty good. in and we will talk about consumption and then hopefully we will talk about solutions at the end. alex is mentioned twice now the people don't think about water and i remember just a couple of weeks ago it rained and i stopped thinking about the drought for a few days. but just for a few days obviously. he has this great quote in the book from john steinbeck. he says, about this notion forgetfulness, and it never failed during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. it was always that way. let's talk about the drought. texas is now in the middle of a
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historic drought and i think it is not something we think about unless it's not raining. you have explored the drought conditions in texas even before this historic drought struck and you have looked at the actions of the public institutions or the inactions on their part in the actions of the private players. what is happening in texas with our exponential growth and the fact that we have to live with the same amount of water 20 years from now that we had in 1957? >> have you got a couple hours? [laughter] you all are living this and it is interesting to me as a guy from new york, where we just went through hurricane irene, which we were very lucky in that case. it didn't do much damage. but it was the first time in new york city's history that the mayor decided to shut down the subway system and evacuate people from low-lying areas. he did the right thing. irene kind of glanced off the
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city, flooded a bit but then moved up the coast and i'm afraid that people may take the wrong lesson from that and just do not think that the mayor was crying wolf. the fact is we got lucky and the new york city is due for a major flood. what people don't focus on is that it went up the coast and veered inland and hit vermont. in the mountains where my sister lives. it destroyed huge swath of that state and you know the road in front of her house is now a ravine and doesn't exist any longer. she was trapped in her house for a couple of days. all this is by way of saying that we ignore mother nature at our peril. the same is true here with drought. texas is for better or worse, i guess for worse, in what may be called the ground zero for climate change. texas, arizona, california,
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nevada. i hate to say it but the climate that we have known in the past is not going to be the climate of the future. you all had a taste of that this summer. these endless days of 100-degree plus heat record-breaking wildfires have scorched something like 3.5 million acres, you know taking heed that in this very city is drying out the earth to the point where its foundations are cracking and i assume our society. the drought is unlike a flood, drought is very slow-moving. in fact some scientists compare it to a python which slowly squeezes its prey to death which is in sharp contrast to say a flash flood which can be generated in an hour or so with a heavy rainfall. a drought comes on very slowly and then it recedes very slowly.
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i think what i have heard is that this drought scientists believe was caused by a la niña and in fact there may be a second la niña happening. you are in for more of the same. as richard points out, texas is rapidly growing in the midst of this. i think texas is next to california the fastest-growing state in the nation right now. a lot of people for my part of the world are coming down here including some friends of mine. it is a great place to live but we have to ask ourselves, whether it makes sense to live in deserts or live-in floodplains are live on the sides of steep mountains. you know neal days human populations always used to build near water sources for obvious reasons and now we have gotten so good at collecting water that we choose to live wherever we want and we bring water to us. we have these fantastic pipelines and dams and aqueducts
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and so one. you know we are getting to a point now where natural forces are telling us that may not ea sustainable idea, that we have to ensure that we have a long-term water supply before we start holding a new town. so anyway, drought is a factor. it is here to stay. scientist that are studying this carefully say that they are concerned that the historical pattern is that these droughts can last not just a couple of years but 10 years, 20 years, 50 years and there is a possibility that this region will be facing a permanent drying out. i talked about this in the book they are scientists at columbia university in new york that have been studying this carefully and they say you can't really call it a drought. drought implies a short-term change in weather. this is a long term or
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ratification. that is a long-winded answer. >> i think you write in the book and correct me if i'm wrong, and maybe i've seen this and other research but rainfall patterns in the southwest, studies in the 20th century showed that rainfall was actually trailing off as the 20th century and it. is that correct? >> yes, that's correct. >> texas, and like a lot of places, has a bifurcated way of dealing with water. some water is private and some water is owned by the public. why don't you tell us about t. boone pickens. hugh met him. you interviewed him. you know more about his plan that most people. tell them what is going on in dallas with t. boone pickens. >> well, for those two or three of you who don't know who t. boone pickens is, he is a billionaire who has made his money and natural resources, meaning oil and gas. he is a very shrewd guy and he
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has a ranch up in the panhandle. it happens at his ranch sits on top of one corner of the ogallala aquifer and opal allah is the largest underground water supply in north america. it goes down into mexico. it is a very important water source underlies the great plains and has allowed farmers to grow crops and allowed cities to be built in places that we never thought were possible. and unfortunately it is being depleted, because there are so many so-called straws, pipes being stuck into the ogallala and regions of the ogallala -- it is not just a dig basin. is more like a series of egg cartons. their little pockets of water, but the water transfers through all of this. and so some of those little pockets are getting dried up right now. pickens has developed a plan that he calls mesa water where
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he wants to stick a pipe into the ogallala under his ranch and he has gotten a whole bunch of his neighbors there to agree to do this with him because water rights are very important in texas. and, by getting his neighbors together he is avoiding a fight with them and what they will do is as i said, as the consortium they will pipe their water to the highest bidder. you may have been following the news recently. amarillo which is not too far away, has been having terrible water problems lately. they are one likely customer. another is dallas-fort worth metroplex, one of the fastest-growing regions in the entire country. they have had terrible water problems as well. and he has not consumed, consummated a deal yet. i think he is sort of waiting for people to get desperate but he has got a lot of permits in place. the thing that may hold them up is that he will have to build a
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pipeline that goes across people's property. he has talked about using the law of eminent domain to do that. we will see if that actually happens. but the fact is, here is a guy who has made aliens of dollars in oil and gas. he knows very well how to extract resources from the ground, process them and sell them on the market. one of the things that is very controversial about this is this question of privatizing water. do we want to get into that now? >> let's do that. we take the water that comes out of our tap fairly for granted, but he has raised in this discussion even just in texas the idea that we may not be in control of our own water very soon. go ahead. >> well, privatize water goes back to napoleonic france when there were large companies. they still exist today. they started privatizing water and selling it. they would build the
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infrastructure and sell it to municipalities. private water is now a huge global business. there is quite a lot of money in it. it is a difficult business but it is a growing business. the french companies in particular but also the spanish, german and english companies tend to dominate. they are going into places like china and central america. the notion is that they will come in to a little town in california for example and buy up the private utility there, improve the pipes and take over the system and then charge you a fee for it. which sometimes works great. it usually works great but sometimes it doesn't. sometimes they promised too much and deliver to little. and then, when the water turns brown and the pipes start her sting and their water rates go up, people start asking questions about who these people are that suddenly on their water and are suddenly jacking up their rates.
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and they start finding out things like the fact that the privatizing of water is kind of encompassing an ethical dilemma. which boils down to this. it boils down to a question that is, is water, and like the air we breathe so therefore free to all or is it a commodity like oil and gas that the process and sell? the difference between water and oil is obvious. water is renewable. water is essential for survival. and if you charge too much for it, you are essentially threatening people's lives. that is a very emotional issue for people. in fact, in bolivia, an american company, that tell when in an privatize the water system there are and jacked up the raids, and
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huge protests were set off because people couldn't afford the water. the army was called out. they started shooting. they kill the young boy. it happen happened to be televised. the protests turn violent and the government toppled and that tell left the country. this is an extreme example but it does happen. when it comes to water, this debate is probably one of the thorniest issues and water right now. the other side of it is, if you don't charge for water, people tend to use it and efficiently. we wasted. farmers will flood their fields which is very inefficient. people pollute it because there is no incentive to preserve and conserve. and, so, the question is, these things mutually exclusive? you know, does it have to be all
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perfect -- for-profit oral free? i conclude in the book that is sort of a false dichotomy. really what we need to do is, we need to ensure people a certain amount of water, free water per person per day and the experts say generally, the minimum amount is about 13 gallons a person per day. and beyond that, we charge a tiered rate meaning the more you use, the more you pay so they have used users are incentivized to use water more efficiently. now that is -- it sounds great and i believe that to be true but it is very difficult politically to bring something like that about. the minute you start talking about water rates people get very upset does for years we have had subsidize water. we haven't had to pay what essentially would be a market rate for water. syllabus is something that is going to become a debate you will hear much more about in
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coming decades because i believe we have to start pricing water more efficiently because that is the only way to get people to change behaviors. you are making me very thirsty at this point. let's switch subjects for a bit because we have been talking about the availability of water which i think is kind of a startling problem in the book, but part of that also has to do with water quality. something i simply did not know in the very few are -- first few pages of this book was that song, and you can tell us how much and why, the quality of the water we consume and that we have in our lakes and rivers is not nearly as pristine as i thought when i first opened this book. you talking here about chemical pollution. i thought what the clean water act that was all gone. you talking here about
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substances that do alter officious genetics, their reproductive systems at least. how did this happen? i thought the clean water act solves all of this 20 or 30 years ago. >> well the clean water act was signed in 1972 and epa was formed and the safe drinking water act, the same era, a lot of that was the result of some water disasters that you may be familiar with. the cuyahoga river in 1959 was so polluted that is spontaneously combusted into flames, and the flames were so intense that they almost melted a bridge. fire boats had to be brought in from leigh geary to douse the flames. that it happened before actually but this particular case was so extreme that it made national headlines and made people pay attention. another case you may have heard of was the love canal in new york state where toxins have been buried and got into the groundwater.
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is kill people and caused all sorts of birth defects. these were the kinds of water pollution stories that horrified the nation 40 years ago and led to the signing of the clean water act and the safe drinking water act. and they were very good for their time, but in typical fashion we thought okay, that is done. problem solved and their attention drifted. and the fact is that in the intervening 40 years, the those regulations have either become out dated or they have not been enforced well, and in the meantime, there are more and more new types of chemicals and other pollutants that are coming on the marketplace every year and, the regulating bodies like the epa and the u.s. geological survey and the fda have had
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severe budget discussions. and so, it is very difficult for the regulators to do their jobs properly. and as i am sure you are well aware, the environment in which is become highly politicized so there is great vertical pressure now. in fact right at this moment, people like governor perry and michele bachmann are saying that the epa, it is a job destroying agency without really understanding that the epa is out there to help everybody -- help the environment and help human health which affects them as much as it does us. and so it has been a difficult time. and i was stunned to discover how much pollution has happened recently. i was not aware of this myself once can tell i started researching the book but just in the space between 2004 in and 2009, there were major water pollution incidents that
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happened 506,000 times. this is from data compiled by the epa that "the new york times" got ahold of. the safe drinking water act, and the same time period was violated in every single state. people drew afraid of drinking water out of town so they turned to bottled water. it turns out the bottled water is considered a food product and it is overseen not by the epa but by the fda and in fact it is less well-regulated well-regulated than municipal water. which is overseen -- go. [laughter] and has sometimes been polluted. it is unusual but it does happen. so, i was stunned and one of the things i did when i began this book was too, because water is such a large subject i didn't really know where to begin so i have just looked at my own backyard and i discovered there was a major orioles build. in fact until the deepwater horizon happen last year there was an oil spill in brooklyn a
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mile and a half from my house. it is the largest oil spill in new york history and nobody even knew about it. right in middle of new york city which is good both densely populated country in the united states. it had been happening in a very slow and incremental way for over 100 years, and even though those fumes spontaneously spontaneously combusted and caused a huge explosion in 1950 and even though there was a great oil spill leaking out into the east river during the 70s, nobody did anything about it. it was only -- it took until last year. the end of the last year was named the end of the superfund site. view extrapolate from that there a lot of water poisoning cases happening across the country, and it is difficult to kind of pull back and take the large viewing connect all those dots and then do something about it. it is much easier to ignore it and pretend it's not there and hope it'll go away but
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unfortunately that is not the case. what are the health effects of this pollution? as i talked about earlier, it is is there and it turned disruptors there is severe health effects. in the case of oil spills, some of the toxins in there are carcinogenic and bear are in certain types of cancer, there are increasing numbers on cancer cases and nobody really knows why. one reason may be that what is in our water. so there are very profound impacts of water pollution. one of the impacts of not regulating or of cutting back really regulators is this question about all the chemicals that are being brought on the market every year. there are only 90 chemicals that are on the fda list, epa's list, excuse me, that they restrict.
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there are something like 600 new chemicals brought into the market every year, most of which go undetected so we don't even know what the problem is. that seems to me to be an unacceptable role of the guys with their health and our children's health. you know there is this old saying that we are are wearing our air and our land and our water from our children and so we had that are pay good attention to it. i hold that close to hard and i think we have to start really paying attention to what is in our water and not to start supporting groups like the epa and usgs. [applause] >> let me ask you a couple of quick questions. we are about to go to q&a. it is the big question. do you think that we as people, because there are more of us on earth every day than ever before, who lived with the same
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amount of water, are in danger of running out of water? >> the question is are we in danger of running out of water? in some places we are. i think they're actually towns in texas that have actually went out of water but that is pretty unusual. the earth has always had the same amount of water that it has now and always will. the water that we use was used by the dinosaurs in use by napoleon. so the water is here. the problem is where it is located and where we are located. most of the earth's water is frozen. sorry, most of the ears fresh water is frozen. most of the earth waters too salty for us to use but most of the earth fresh water is frozen or inaccessible because it is just too hard to get to. the water that is easily accessible and potable is representing 3/10 of 1% of the water on the earth which is not very much. and so, we had better start managing that limited supply and
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a more intelligent way. now, the good news is, we are starting to do that. we are actually using water more efficiently now than we have ever before as a nation. this is the industry which is trying to save on its water costs and and has built in efficiencies. in the book i visited an intel plant inside a phoenix. is almost like a space station on march. this plant is so walter water efficient it is amazing and it is built in the desert, one of the hottest and driest places in the country and yet they are able to recycle their water and reese out -- desalinated and store water in the ground in a highly efficient way. if we could take that model and spread it around, that would he a big help. but again i come back to the question of you know, it is partly a land-use question. rebuilding the right kinds of towns and cities in the right kinds of places?
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>> talk about that because you mentioned in the book a story of atlanta. atlanta had gone into a terrific drought. than what happen? the atlanta is a little bit of a canary in the coal mine as is australia and that they have now gone through sort of a cycle that is predicted for climate change, which is they went through a 3.5 year drought, one of the worst droughts in georgia state history. and the governor, much like your governor, god on the statehouse and said they for rain. [laughter] well careful what you wish for. it is a couple of months later the skies opened and they have the worst flood in state history. and it caused a lot of damage and many deaths, and after that subsided, the georgians were wandering around saying what just happened to us? what we done to deserve this? and the experts said, we told you so. it turns out that they have been
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predicting this would happen for a long time because atlanta was one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. they have the olympics there. they paid very little attention to their water supply. they did not implement some very basic steps especially in atlanta. they relied on lake mayor which was meant as a powergenerating water supply there and a three-way legal batter -- battle over rights with their neighbors. they been given a reprieve, given a couple of years to figure out a water plan and get their act together. the result is everybody a squabbling. so when i heard that governor perry was on the courthouse steps bring for rain, gave me pause. [laughter] >> well, let's go to that. why not? today, doesn't appear to me that the state government has done much about drought per se.
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what can -- let's take texas. what can the public institutions of texas do and even in the rest of the southwest cut? i will throw in another one. are we in danger of running out of water that will support population growth? >> that is a very real concern. i don't absolutely know the answer to that question but that seems to me there is a grave danger and one of the basic things that the state and federal government can do is start to, start to prepare. there has been very little preparation for the kind of events. is where talking about earlier, they dropped passes and we kind of forget about it. we don't plan ahead. there are many basic steps that we can take. the sort of 19th and 20th century model was to build giant dams and produce larger reservoirs but we have learned through experience that not only are those things very expensive but they are ecologically very
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harmful. they cost a tremendous amount of money in upkeep. they tend to silt up and don't last very long and they are really considered, the giant dams anywhere considered white elephants so the question is what else can we do? there is a study by the pacific institute in california that shows that actually if we started taking very basic steps like fixing leaking pipes, using low flush toilets or low flow showerheads, using drip irrigation for storing water underground instead of egg open reservoirs, those basic steps would serve -- which are not very and we have the technology to do right now, that will save more money than a giant of the billion-dollar reservoir will create. the problem is, that is not the way we have always done it, and so there is a great sort of inertia or resistance sometimes do these kinds of things. but i think we need to get behind these basic steps in and
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we need to start pushing technological answers, policy answers. we can certainly do these basic steps but at the end of the day, what you really need to do is to appeal to people's self-interest. so how do you do that? will you use a series of carrots and sticks. you use policy. you use taxes. you use financial incentives and disincentives. you basically make water efficiency and water cleanlinese water efficiency and cleanliness, make it cheaper for people to pay their bills on line instantly. give people incentive to report leaks. you know, reward people for efficiency and disincentivized disincentivized -- disincentivized inefficiency. >> let me ask you that because you write extensively about australia's experience which i
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think it's instructive but i will tell you the problems you raise are quite daunting and it makes me feel like a mouse basing a -- in an open field. i don't have much of a chance here. that said you have a quote in here to that end that says men really know not what good water is by lord meyer. tell us about what happened in australia. >> well australia went through a multiyear drought, which was even worse than what you all have been through. the conditions got so extreme in the murray darling basis -- base which is a huge watershed area which is known for its sheep and cattle ranching and things got so severe there that the farmers were giving up their cattle, selling off their land in growing with so despond and that they began committing suicide. it is really heartbreaking.
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australia sells a lot of its goods to asia, which is right north of us. their exports drop dramatically because they simply didn't have the goods they needed to provide the markets. that had a huge economic impact in and a huge political impact. this was followed then by a terrible flood that just happened at the beginning of this year. through worst flood in australian history. this sounds a bit like georgia where a multiyear drought followed by a tremendous flood. wanted things that happens when you have a multiyear drought the ground get so dry and a card that when the rain comes it doesn't get absorbed and it bounces off. that causes a whole series of consequences. there are grade erosion problems and in runoff and pollution. so australia has been struggling with this stuff and is continuing to struggle with it right now.
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did the astro and learn anything and did they change their behavior? >> they did. in fact, the us trillion government was a nonbeliever in climate change before the salted place and were confronted with this reality much like our country was confronted with it this summer. we had record-breaking floods in record-breaking droughts. people are now forced to think about water in a new way whether they like it or not and to realize that this is the new normal, so-called. this is what is going to be and we had better start adapting. the australians did invent a whole set of solutions that i talk about in the book. see very good. with that we will gladly take questions from the audience. just walk up to the mic and give us your first and last name and address your question to the author. >> my question is regarding scarce resources, oil and gas we saw the problem with pipelines. one of the pipelines the
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keystone xl is scheduled to go straight line from canada to houston right through the sand hills of nebraska which is the recharge zone for the aquifer and we all know that pipelines sometimes leak, which would destroy the large aquifer. we also know that the northeast has had more rain, more water than they know what to do with and we don't have any. so is there a pipeline in that future? >> they are two separate questions but i wanted to the second one and this is a question i've been getting a lot lately. because of the drought, in the east in the north we have had record-breaking floods and rains and snows and around here you have had record-breaking drought. why can't we take the water from places like vermont and ship it over here? which sounds great, and is probably technically feasible, but there are a couple of
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pragmatic problems. the first is it is very very expensive. water is heavy. it weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon so transporting water requires a tremendous amount of energy. you know shifting water of a giant hill and then down again and it is very difficult. colorado and california can attest. number two, the political reality of shipping water across state lines is a whole separate fight that would make things very complicated. number three, there are actual biological differences. if you take water from in the eastern river, for example if you take water from the mississippi overflow, just the floodwater, and you've shifted west which is one plan, that
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water is actually biologically different than water and say the rio grande, so if you put that water in the rio rio grande it would probably kill all the existing fish and plant life there. these are the kinds of things that you don't necessarily think about when you say let's bring the floodwater over. i think it is going to be a long time before that kind of thing is ever actually done, but there are certainly many plans. i talk about a few of them in the book to bring water from canada down here were bring water from the east to the west or even from the states down to mexico. and, these things are, they all sound great on paper but when you start looking at the details it is very complicated. >> i am wondering what organization do you think are the most effective charitable organizations or non-governmental organizations in regards to making a change or educating are educating the public in regards to
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conservation? >> i think the question is what organizations are most effective? >> yeah. if we are concerned about this, governmental changes or public changes. >> well, it is a cop a gated questions. there are many private groups that are doing very good work and i'm sure you know the names. but american rivers is one, the sierra club, nrdc, and so on and so forth but actually, i think we have to be supporting groups, the federal government groups such as the u.s. geological survey in the umar mental protection agency because these are the guys who have the mandate to provide water and monitor water and to build water infrastructure. so with -- what that requires is for you to use your vote in your voice. when michele bachmann says the epa is a job-killing agency, tell her no.
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it is actually a job creation agency. this country is in dire need of infrastructure work particularly in its water infrastructure. there's there is a huge opportunity there. let's apply yourselves. >> at the global level, 65% of the water, surface water is used for agricultural irrigation and in many parts of the world, there is an intersection of water scarcity, food scarcity, high population growth and poverty. do you get into that or do you want to comment on how we use water for agriculture? >> i did get into that. agricultural in this country and globally is the greatest user of water. and yes, we do need water to grow food, but we can use it in a much more efficient way. i think i mentioned trip irrigation is one example. there are many others that i talk about in the book are going not an enemy of farmers.
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i am a fan of farmers. and the guy who loves good food. i work with julia child. i am a gardener myself. i understand that we need water to grow food, but we can use it in a lot smarter way. i think that agricultural industry, knee-jerk reaction is to say no to any type of effort to change the way water is used. in the beginning of the book i talk about the chesapeake bay, which is right at the feet of the capital and how it is one of the regis ecosystems in the world and how it is being decimated largely by agricultural runoff. there have been attempts to cut back on the use of pesticides and fertilizers and the very powerful agricultural lobby has pushed back very hard against that, which for me is you know sort of shooting yourself in the foot. i could go on on that, but i recommend you read the book.
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>> my name is daniel morrow and i was wondering if you could address the presence of pharmaceuticals in our water supplies and what sort of threat that they pose? thank you. >> pharmaceuticals in the water is a huge problem. you know for years we were told, when you have old drugs in your medicine cabinet, flush them down the toilet. well guess what? you flush them down the toilet and they end up in the water system. a lot of these drugs are very robust. they are built to withstand the rigors of going to the human body which is quite difficult. i talk about in the book how large amounts of pharmaceuticals are being found in the water and particularly in a place like the chesapeake bay and how scientists at the u.s. geological survey are very concerned about what they call the -- effect. so you have ibuprofen,, narcotics like cocaine mixing
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with heavy metals and plastics. each one of those things is bad for us and bad for the environment but what happens when the cocktail effect takes place, when those things are mixed together and they impact juvenile fish or hidden sex or plants? we don't know the answer, but the little that we do know is scary. the pharmaceutical industry again has pushed back very hard against many deeper regulations. there is a movement afoot now to get pharmaceutical companies to buy back or at least take back old drugs. they produce massive amounts of drugs every year and new ones and they push very hard to have existing drugs used for new applications so they are more and more drugs ending up in the water supply every year. this cannot be a good thing, and this is one of those issues that i get on my soapbox about. i really think we have to start taking a close look at what is in our water.
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>> roger lee. i am a retired hydrogen deal of -- hydrogeologist. my comment to you is about education and people being able to educate themselves as well as buying your book and reading it of course, and that is to find the places where you can get that information so that you have the knowledge to be able to tell the political people what it it is you want with their water resources. my question to you is maybe it will be won but what do we do about all the efforts we have made in saving water when there is a constant rise in the global population. because at some point in the future, we are going to simply run out of water for an increasing population. thank you. >> that is a very difficult question. you may have heard the phrase, peak oil. there is now the equivalent
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phrase which is peak water and what that means is are we reaching the point where there is simply are simply not enough water? i don't believe that we have reached that point yet. i think we are in danger of that in certain places. reticular lea around the equator where you have large populations of young people who are taking on a much more western meat centric diet. me takes a lot of water to grow. that is a real problem. but as i said we have the same amount of water we have always had. the changing factors we have many more people so what do we do? well, the easy answer is we search use the water we have more efficiently. we learn to conserve it. we learn to use it more sustainably. there is quite a lot of water but we are not using it very wisely. we are not supplying our knowledge in using technology as i've mentioned before. so i think the answer is, let's use the tools we have and
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develop new ones. >> hi. i wanted to say thank you for writing this book and addressing this issue. i was born in dallas, texas in 1953, so i'm a product of the drought and water is very very important. i am also an optimist because i am 58 years old and i haven't lived in drought conditions in taxes. my question to you, you already addressed the aqueduct situation. i'm a proponent of aqueduct, and i would like to know more about that, but my second question since you have addressed that in questioning before is, you mentioned that we should settle differently, that are population growth is not working with the needs of water and the availability of water. how would you suggest that we too form our growth so that we
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can use the water the best he it can be used. >> there is an interesting historical marker that happened in 2008, which most people are unaware of. in 2008, the world became more urbanized than ever. more people were living in urban areas than rural areas for the first time in history. that i think is going to have profound long-term effects. and we are just starting to see this. and it is not only, not always a bad thing. sometimes it is a good thing. one of the good things about an urban area is it tends to force the vision because there are people living close together in towns like austin and dallas. it forces the efficiency. you bring water from one place to another and then it serves a lot of people and in contrast to a rural area where you bring water and it tends to serve a small number of people spread
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wide apart. that is a somewhat inefficient use. there is a whole sordid school of thought on how to make cities more efficient and i don't think we have time to go into all of it as i can just tell you that essentially the more clustered we can make our housing, the more efficient we will be. and within those clustered housings, we need to start using the technology i mentioned like low flush toilets, low flow showerheads, side wanted -- sidemounted washing machines and the like. rainwater collection. in the east we have a problem up run off and we'd need to take more -- a for a city which is creating sidewalks that absorb waters and allowed to run off. i go into this quite a bit and i think we had better leave it at
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that for now. >> robert norris and i wanted to bring you right back to what you are talking about. through the options that homeowners have our rainwater collection and gray water used. graywater collections of course has to have rain before you can collect it. we don't have a lot of rain here. where graywater, if you go to a lot of cities and say i want to have graywater -- they will say okay we are here. we want you to come up with this great field and have water go down where the plants are. are there any cities or communities that are really moving forward in a significant way and developing water systems are facilitating people or not hindering them to develop their own system?
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>> graywater is an idea that has been around for many years. probably the most forward inking part of the country on using recycled water essentially is california. they are doing this in two ways. along the coast they are going to desalination plants which takes saltwater from the ocean, takes the salt and the particular matter out and provides freshwater. the problem with that is that it is very expensive. it takes a lot of power so it is expensive and creates greenhouse gases to extract those salts. once you extract the salts what you do you do with that? the salt and rind it comes out is a very concentrated rind. if you push out to see it tends to kill or hurt wildlife so desalination is something i think we are going to be seeing much more of in the future along
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the coast in particular. but, it is not the silver bullet that everybody has been looking for. and the second thing that is happening in orange county particularly as they are using human sewage as a potable water source. now, that sounds disgusting to a lot of people, but actually it uses somewhat the same technology as desalination which is reverse osmosis. it cleans water to an ultrapure degree. in fact water so pure that they have to add minerals back into it because it is not healthy for you to drink it. what they do is they don't put it back into your tap. they put that ultrapure water into natural water supplies and allow it to percolate through aquifers for months and months and then eventually something like 23 cities use that water. so far there have been no problems and this was a huge political battle in california and it continues to rage today. san diego is refusing to do it
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in l.a. is starting to build a plant similar to orange county. these are the kinds of things that are happening and we will have to use more of. these are burly 20% -- 21st century technology. graywater is similar. 95% of the water used in our homes doesn't come from the bathroom and a lot of it is simply just flushed down the drain. what if we were to use that water, filter it in a graywater system and use it to provide for our gardens and wash our cars or something? you probably wouldn't want to drink that water but you know there are a lot of ways we can use water more efficiently and that is certainly one of them. >> i'm a natural -- so we have different issues and we have water but my question to you is there anywhere in your book where you think that the average
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person can do, such as again begin with the end in mind. something like your lawn in her house or cleaning products that you don't want to have up -- back by conducting a drink of water rethink it and find more sustainable green solutions for because boquet, would you please address the issue that there are very few things that can be pulled out of wastewater treatment such as radon, such as and such as prozac and things like that better and a nap in our water system of long with the endocrine disruptive system. all the things that end up in there that we have control in our own personal lives to address and not get them in there. >> yes. there's a whole section at the end of the book. i give a whole list of things that we as individuals can do to use water more intelligently, and not only us as individuals but also society and i will leave it at that because we we e
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out of them almost. >> there is going to be a lot less water. i can't believe nobody thinks the glaciers are melting. maybe we will have no water at all in 20 years. the glaciers are melting all over the world. >> that's true. glaciers are melting all over the world and that is a huge problem. not only are the glaciers melting but the climate is changing. the climate is warming and as i said the climate of the future is not going to be the climate of the past. this is affecting the hydrologic cycle. the hydrologic cycle is the cycle by which water is transported through the air and comes back down. as the air gets warmer more water vapor is in the air. that has a whole series of consequences. i think i'd better leave it at that. >> we are going to go to her last question. >> my name is michael and i'm visiting from chicago where this past spring the white house told city officials that they need to start making efforts for the
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chicago river to be totally cleaned and something like 20 years. is that even a productive mandate and where does municipal government even began in an effort to make a river like the chicago river clean? >> make it? , alex. [laughter] >> i don't know much about the chicago river but i know in general if you have a toxic river, it does not a good thing, and we have seen that all across the country. there are actual consequences to having a 30 river and the term is fishable and ends when mobile water. that's what they are aiming for and yes expensive, yes it is difficult to do but i think it is certainly worthwhile and i support that. >> thank you all very much for coming. really appreciate it.
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>> he will be signing books in the back of the tent right there. [applause] .. here in texas we are pleased to be joined by chris lehmann, the
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author of "rich people things: real-life secrets of the predator class". what is the creditor class? >> it is a funny thing. the title is derived from my publisher demanding one and me not having a lot of time so i just threw it out because it sounded snappy but other interviewers have asked me the same question and to me i know is a loaded term meant to attract attention and discussion but we don't often think -- will live in an age where the mythology of the rich is their job creators and they are the engines of the economy. there is another story that is not being told that i try to tell in a book about the another side of the ledger. a funny thing in a recent gop debate, what is your definition of a rich person? he said i don't think in those
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terms. i want an america where everyone is going to be rich. that is not possible. rich people create poor people. that is the idea of the creditor class is meant to evoke. this is a class of people, the top 1% control 42% of the nation's wealth and the medium institutions of our government and have lobbyists making sure their policy aims are enacted even under democratic administration called by its opponents socialist. obama extended tax cuts to the wealthiest earners and defied his 2008 campaign pledge to roll back the bush tax cuts. the white house is on this austerity binge cutting spending in every session. this is another thing they do.
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everyone knows raising taxes in the middle of a recession is the worst thing you can do. that is not really true. fdr raise taxes and ronald reagan raised taxes after the 1981 recession. no one in this predator class will acknowledge that. >> before we get to the substance of the book i want to go back to what you said. your publisher demanded a subtitle. never heard that. >> the title is kind of vague. it was never my idea. it can be broken down as i am an editor and i'm fanatical about grammar and doesn't signify very clearly. >> how do you organize your book? >> it grew out of an online column i wrote -- version call
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it that. website. sort of a one hit that began organically. i was writing after the financial crisis with all these debates about what is going to happen and things like the tea party protests taking off and the best-seller list and add a moment when that i was saying before, is not the case that in any modern economy you have recovery from the recession by cutting back a certain percentage. it is not true. the question is what are the mythologies people adhered to at this time that they make these things that are analytically kind of mistaken sound true and possible? it is stuff like the t.a.r.p. bailout or wired magazine which i make fun of but it is the lobbying industry. exploded in washington over the
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last three decades. are shouldn't say this in front of the texas state capitol but the lot of the world looks at you in differently if you think in terms of people gaining a certain set of relationships to their advantage. >> barbara errant calls your book social criticism that its scorching hot best. >> he bounced my check. >> number 17 according to your book, for more. >> a good literary critic, walter beth michaels wrote the memoir is a signature form of literary expression in neil liberal being a tax on austerity regime in the euro zone and stories about individuals overcoming a hostile world and
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showing these signature horatio alger rates like human spirit triumphing and another part of the story that is omitted in the standard memoir. it is like the idea of the wealth theater. you are getting stories of abject suffering that all occurs within the family and there are no other institutions in the modern memoir and it is a striking thing especially when you contrast it to famous nineteenth century memoirs or going back to russo in the eighteenth century memoirs intended to be a kind of social instruction like this is the life people should be and it is up testimony of personal suffering and individual -- that is why it is in the book. >> malcolm bradley -- malcolm
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glad well. >> the arch motivational speaker for the managerial class. he makes a great deal of money and he is making the laws of the markets seem like a property of human minds and i was talking earlier about the need for this culture that we have and he supplies those beliefs. he tells his readers if you just follow the right trend and latch on at the right time you will triumph over market forces. if you trust your instincts will judgment which is the argument of his book that is going to be right the vast majority of the time. not that america doesn't want to hear that because the other curious thing about our economy is managers don't really -- there are not a lot of reliable d. j.s for what managers do or
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produce. they get a lot of money if they're situated right. it then becomes a challenge. they have to project d. quality from their personality because that is all they got. malcolm gladwell says you, mr corporate manager are in the same -- profound and world changing. that is the message that class of reader needs to hear because he is a huge success. >> you also refer to his book as suddenly philosophy. >> in the opening chapter he makes the love study where a social scientist conducted this research with couples to determine what makes them succeed or fail as couples to identify snap judgment in the book that sustained romantic life and it turned out if you
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look at the size of the sample it is worth less. i shouldn't say that but very difficult to generalize from and turns out when you adjust for the actual findings, his success right in predicting the outcome of relationships was 50%. it is like flipping a coin. >> one more rich people saying. u.s. constitution. >> the american constitution was drafted by privileged landowners. not so unusual in the eighteenth century. they also looked out for their own interests as people tend to. one of the central tenets of the constitution was to forbid paper money being printed in the former colonies because the part of their class the without when
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paper circulates they want, the associated because it appreciates if you are retiring debt. to say nothing of the three fifth clause which counts slaves as property. kerri obvious reason there is a class of landowners who wanted to be represented more fully within the terms of our democracy even though they didn't want the full franchise extended to american slaves. when you look at it from that perspective, who benefits as they say in law school. the constitution -- there's also a huge movement of anti federalists who don't get written about much. small landowners who wanted public debt and paper currency and they oppose the constitution on those grounds. to me it is important because these are the same battles we are having known. access to credit in the wake of
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the financial crisis is a huge political question. we see that with a bank bailout and occupy wall street and we stretch the point a little with anti federalists. >> chris lehmann is former deputy editor of the washington post. what is your day job. >> i work at yahoo! news and co editor of book forum. i need to talk on booktv to face new york and anyone who will have me right for them. i have plug everything. >> what happens if this book makes you rich? >> hy guess i can do what disgraced memoirs do. if there is a problem i look forward to having. >> is there a follow-up to this book? >> i am talking with my agent of doing a book on religion and economics. those are forces in our culture
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today that don't often get talked-about. >> is religion risky? >> there's a chapter in my book on the prosperity -- and my speech is on mormonism. they have made that connection for a long time. time to take a fresh look. >> chris lehmann. here's his book, "rich people things: real-life secrets of the predator class". thank you for being on booktv. we continue live coverage from austin, a texas book festival. this is the sixteenth annual texas book festival. laura bush found it when she was texas first lady in 1995 and the festival is two day as long. booktv will be live again tomorrow. everything you have seen to date you will be able to watch again. we will air the entire festival tonight at midnight eastern time so you can tune in and we will
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be live tomorrow. go to booktv.org if you like to find out the entire schedule for sunday coverage. areas one more panel in the booktv tend. we will go in there now. it is just about to start. it is dana priest, reporter for the washington post. her book was "top secret america: the rise of the new american security state". she will be talking about her book in just a minute. here is dana priest in the booktv tends. [inaudible conversations] >> hello, everybody. i can start talking? okay. hello, everybody.
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my guest here is dana priest, washington post reporter. we are going to be talking about her book -- is that on? >> i can't hear a thing. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> here we go. >> my name is brenda bell. are a reporter for the american statesman and my guest is dana priest, pulitzer prize-winning reporter. [applause] >> thank you.
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thank you. >> we are here to talk about her book "top secret america: the rise of the new american security state". it was published last month. i have been reading her book for the last weekend i can say as a reporter, one thing that wondered about is what it is like to negotiate something that is basically a man's world as a female reporter. in essence dana is a female cops reporter. if you are a reporter you know that it means it plays out in different ways. i wanted to ask you about that. how did you get into this particular specialty as a a journalist? >> first, let me say thank you for inviting me because it is one of the last official trips i have on my book tour.
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it couldn't be better weather and our love austin and i am glad to wrap it up this way. a [applause] >> she brought her cowboy boots. >> any chance i can get. the answer to the question when i first started working in the military didn't dawn on me is that it was an all male world until the first day. when i was surrounded by men in uniform. not just men but men in uniform and i had never been around the military before and was a little awkward so the first denied it was started dressing as close to what they were dressing like as i could so they were in uniforms and i started wearing my own uniform which was navy blue, noaa open code shoes or jewelry. one funny story is high went on a trip like this with some
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generals into indonesia and i discovered that sitting in is a good method for a reporter because you sit in by being empathetic to your sources which i think i am but also by respecting their culture. that is what i was trying to do. but it can go too far. there was the intelligence chief of an index where we were visiting the country. the ambassador set up for me to talk to him about this intelligence matter that i was reporting on or trying to gather information on. when i got in he started taking me through this warren of offices and faults that he had a combination to get into and i remembered where are we going? he finally said when we sat down was wearing a press badge i had turned over because i don't like to remind people that is what
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was. he said you are not really with the media, are you? i looked at him. you are with the defense department, aren't you? i thought he was joking but then he went and enroll for me some highly classified maps of a certain thing we are working on and i got very nervous because it was obvious there were highly sensitive, i took notes really quickly. take it when you can. when i left right before i left the country i called him back and said i just want you to remember that i introduce to you by the ambassador as a reporter for the washington post and that is what i am at peace that oh h sh shit. you can fit in anywhere. one way i tried to fit in
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wherever i am is respect the culture with you are male or female it is not that hard. >> your book "top secret america: the rise of the new american security state" -- is it off? let's just trade. we will pass it back and forth. begins with this odyssey of data in a car driving all over the greater washington d.c. metropolitan area looking for as she says buildings without addresses, offices without floors, acronyms without explanations, specials this, special that, each drive yielded more addresses, another obscure company or government office we had never heard of but which sounded just like all the others
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we had been finding. it sort of begins like a detective story but a weird detective story. how did you get into this search of what turned out to be top-secret america? >> i had covered the military the cia after is that in the years before and after 9/11 and as a reporter on those beets i had seen things grow up around me i wasn't sure what they were. people are had known for a long time disappear into worlds that didn't exist before or they have no titles for agencies i have never heard of and after ten years working in that realm you sort of say what is going on? there were so many more people doing what everyone called counterterrorism, chasing al qaeda and terrorists. about eight years after 9/11 i said let's step back and look at
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what we have built as a country and my colleague was doing this same thing but in his own way he is a self-described obsessive compulsive person which is great if you want somebody to create a database which calls upon the most exquisite research and keeping track of thousands of details that the same time. we teamed up with different skills and we wanted to say to readers this is how big the world of counterterrorism has grown after 9/11. how will we show you this secret? we decided we would try to actually count all of the secret federal agencies that did work in the stereo. we mentor at the secret classified level. we started at that level and found there were so many classified secrets that we could never detail them in our
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lifetime. we went to the top-secret level which is the huge even though it is only one step. it means these are the nation's most sensitive secrets and we found after two years of work we found 1200 federal agencies that work on counterterrorism and intelligence that the federal level. this doesn't count even the states or counties and that sort of thing and there were another 2,000 companies, private profitmaking corporations that work for those agencies that the top-secret level on counterterrorism. i could talk for a minute later how we counted them but those are the raw figures we determine and there were nearly a million people with top-secret clearances. when we amass all this we want to -- we thought of it as our
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genome project. it was the dna of what we call top-secret in america so we decided to deal everything. we got addresses for every agency and put them on a map of the united states and the map like an old-fashioned developing photo a vat of chemicals started appearing as a different kind of united states. different kind of geography that we began to think about as an alternative geography of the united states where the capital was not washington d.c. but a place 50 miles north of washington d.c. in fort meade where the national security agency, we -- the electronic eavesdroppers that do surveillance around the world is located. is one of the largest intelligence agencies that
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morton doubled after 9/11 and when it did start to grow the sub agencies that it worked with started to grow as well and to moving to the area and the contractors that work for the government also started to grow and be close to the agency. so you got a clustering effect that was very dense and that was the densest part of top-secret america, this geography we had put on a map. but the whole eastern seaboard namely around the washington area and another places like colorado--the closest one to you -- outside of denver, what will become vice think the largest federal secret, top-secret agency's center in the country outside the east coast is outside of denver. this is what we call top-secret
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america. besides the numbers which were pretty large and many of those, a third of it was created after 9/11. we could talk about what was created after 9/11 also. we wanted to look inside and say it is big and expensive. what are some of the problems? people i had known for many years in the military and the intelligence world were talking to me about these problems even before i started doing this work. that is one of the main reasons we decided to undertake it. people who consider themselves loyal patriotic americans who wanted to keep the nation safe from another terrorist attack were very worried when they saw around them in the secret world. there was too much growth. people were tripping over each other. they were doing the same jobs.
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the idea of sharing more information was one of the things that came out of 9/11. while they had gotten better at that, the whole apparatus had gotten so much bigger that was nearly impossible to share everything or even partially with other agencies so many agencies grew and spun off and did their own thing. so that became very difficult as well. that is what we call top-secret america. >> one of the things that is striking in the book is over and over a picture is painted of this clandestine, very expensive it even murderous operations being carried out not in the recognizable seat of government
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but in suburbia. there will be a pizza hut or office bar or strip mall or executive in. the point is made over and over. what is there that is particularly creepy about these operations taking place in these anonymous suburban environments? >> it is an odd sensation to realize a place i have been for 25 years and fought i knew the area pretty well but the fact is i drive every day pass office buildings are was just thinking of as regular old office buildings. i will never think of him that way again because we can pinpoint some secret offices around the washington area in in
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plain sight. after 9/11 when we were all panicked that there might be another attack that government began to write blank checks. was $40 billion, the first cut of the check which went from congress to the executive agencies at the request of the administration but the acquiescence or actually the aggressive pushing of members of congress who were also worried as we all work that we didn't know who our cargo was or beheaded good fix where they were or how strong they were so let's spend as much money as need be to figure out this problem. after the first forty billion dollars came another $40 billion and overwhelmed system quickly and money was spent on anything and anyone who had an idea that might be called counterterrorism accept neither the white house nor congress wanted to grote
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government so they said but don't spend it to hire more federal employees because people won't like that so go higher contractors. and the fog was to give them their say, that this would be cheaper because you wouldn't have federal employee benefits. you could fire contractors easily. hasn't turned out that way at all. there are not many contractors who have been fired. what happened was these companies went in and tried to do not only the job they were given but all the jobs they sought could be done so they started proposing new jobs themselves. and they're not paying the same salaries as federal employees the two or three times as much so that they could pocket some of the money in overhead so that
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these grew to be very expensive proposition to hire contractors. the other byproduct of that was people in the federal government who were working very long hours and getting hammered upon for failing to stop 9/11, senior most intelligence officials and military officials would leave government most of them without retiring anyway. and then go to work for these contractors and come back to the very seats they were sitting in before only now they're making three times as much. ..
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no intention of making a lot of money off of this tragedy, but you would get rid by their colleagues, saying are you crazy? you can make three times as much as you ever made in the government and he succumbed to that end started eating contractors themselves. so they set the spiral effect of spending, which to this day is huge. and every agency dare 16 intelligence agencies, by the way. every single one is dependent on outside contract is not to get their jobs done. and not just a regular job. contractors are just administrators, paper pushers, personnel people are i.t. people. they are part what the government does. and my favorite symbol of that is the picture in the book of the stone carver carbine a star
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and a white marble wall. and that wall was located in the headquarters of the cia and the stars represent people who have died in the land of duty. and there are 22 stars that have been carved since 9/11 for those at the cia who have died in the line of duty. end of the 22, eight are contractors, meaning eight people were involved in covert action, which is the most sensitive thing that our government does. so that's just to say contractors are an integral part of everything we do now is a government, including the most sensitive things. >> one of the things i wasn't aware of was this whole scale movement of the public service, ex-military, ex-generals into the top-secret miracle world. it's not just ex-generals.
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michael chertoff and tom ridge, the former heads of homeland security, now they have companies, which are deeply involved in these government take dvds. can you tell us more about that? >> in washington it's known as the revolving door. it's been there since i can remember, many, many decades before that. if you pray that your government service into a lobbying position, consulting job, that sort of thing. the military has done it forever. the intelligence world not so much. usually people -- before 9/11, intelligent leaders would go and become teachers or, you know, maybe they'd work on wall street advising companies or something like that. but these days, the money is too good. and i had a colleague, julie
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tate to did a research on what i would call the 9/11 clap as the cia, the top managers that were on station, on post on 9/11. in 90 of them have gone into a moneymaking end of the post 9/11 world. michael chertoff was with the justice department. and then he became the number two at homeland security. and after being there for only two years, he took not only his chief of staff, but many people in the top ranks of what was then and still is now a fairytale and come and experience, not very good department, he took them and went into private practice, consulting with companies who wanted to invest. and guess what? same technologies and products that are being bought in the same secret world.
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so insider-trading we are all familiar with. to me this is another kind of insider trading because you cannot get into the circle of people unless you have a security clearance. and once you have that clearance and you have to trust the people inside, you know, you're in for life unless he really screw something up. and you and i cannot cna. it's not like building the next generation of military fighter plane, where we can actually hear that debate and decide how many we really need. all of this is classified. and so you've got contractors with friends and say the government who are now letting the contracts to their friends outside the government. one of my sources called it a self ice cream cone. [laughter] i think that's a pretty good description of it. >> one of the things that you mentioned is the plethora of information that's being generated every day by this
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apparatus and how difficult it is. it's one thing for reporters to keep track of it, but other people this is their job, it's difficult if not impossible even for them. and you mentioned being that the general who is going down in all of these reports on his computer and his inbox is overflowing, who sounds angry. >> he was more than angry. he wasn't shy about telling me that. so one of the chapters begins with one of my adventures into the pentagon one night with the help of some sources who wanted a -- you knew what i was doing. i'd been talking to them for quite a bit about what i was doing, how is trying to show this to people who didn't know this world. we arranged to go into a room where he had a computer where they have special information on it. he just wanted me to see the
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volume of intelligence reports that he was supposed to read every day. and it just went on and on and on. and he was so frustrated because one of the unregulated, unmanaged parts of top-secret america is the use of analysts. everyone has hired as many analysts as their budget can hold. and that usually means thousands of analysts. analysts are the key to finding out, you know, what is happening. all those infamous that make no sense unless you put them in front of a good analyst who can say what they mean. but put them in front of a bad analyst for an inexperienced analyst mhs mean -- they mean nothing special. and so many of these reports are written, saying the exact same thing. no unique information. but unique patters on the top of that, meaning that he felt
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obligated that he would need to resolve these and of course he couldn't. when we went to find out how many -- how can we describe this in more depth, i was told that every year the analytic community of people in this world produces 50,000 intelligence reports a year, everywhere from one page notices to very sick national intelligence estimates. and there's no way in the world that anybody can hope to read all of that. not only that, but if you remember the christmas day bomber, the guy who had the explosives in his underwear, one of the reasons that follow the clues that were floating around the world literally were not put together is not because there were good analyst to put them together. it is because the world that is managing this has become so large that as the world
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testified, we've aren't sure who had the ultimate responsibility to run these clues to ground. so even though they created a new agency called the national counterterrorism center, which is housed in a building which is 500 square feet, a new building to despise wal-mart stacked on top of each other, they still did not have the ultimate authority or they didn't think they did to run all of these disparate clues to ground and therefore nobody did it. so that's a specific case where size defeats the purpose. and this is not just in my words and from my sources, but it's ahead of this world, director of national intelligence who told the government that when he was called to testify and explain how in the world this man with explosives was allowed to get on that airplane. >> i'm curious can you describe in the book walking down
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hallways, walking into buildings with ultra- top-secret security. the people you're with had their retina scan. how did she get that access? did you have their retina scan? >> not willingly. well, we didn't get inside many buildings, you know, obviously because they are well did. but it was even a trick to find out where they were, find out how many there were. so i became obsessed with actual buildings. at one point -- they are enormous edifice is mayor bill tuesday. it's the other thing i thought was important about finding locations and describing the size of these things because they represent that we as a country or construct and to last for a long time. for instance -- we said we've got to come out the big ones we
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can find. and we found 33 skyscrapers. if you put them altogether square footage wise, which you can do because the contractors who built them are very proud of of what they bill coming to usually a square footage out there on the website. if you put them all together, that is worth more than three pentagons, just a big building. there is one agency in itself that is enormous. the department of homeland security, which is an agency that was entirely new after 9/11 that still gets very low marks for its contribution to keeping us safe, but is building in a part of washington that not many people and government goes to is building a complex for its headquarters that will be larger than the pentagon when it's filled -- when it's finished. the house of the 80,000 people. right now, more than half of those are contract others.
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so this thing that we try to describe is here to stay. so it's been 10 years since 9/11. we spent a lot of money. you could argue that all of this money has kept us safer. we haven't had another 9/11. and that would be the primary argument for continuing things as they are. are we safer because of this? >> well, i definitely think we're much safer than we were on 9/11. but i don't think it's because of this gigantic thing that we created. i think it is because of a handful of organizations and element makeup was just a minute, that have grown and figured out how to find terrorist organizations and to capture or kill them with
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various methods and it becomes quite good at doing that. just to name a couple, you look at who found and killed in london. the cia analysts have on bin laden's trail over there for 10 years. they were the most expert at al qaeda and bin laden, and his associates. they had a very focused mission. they had all the resources they needed. they were not the thousands of analysts who want to get into counterterrorism somehow and who were doing reports that were not unique in not hopeful. domestically, the fbi's counterterrorism agents. if you like about the plots and potential paths undone and discovered since 9/11, they did not come through the homeland security see something come to say something campaign, were you
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supposed to report people who look like they're doing something's position is. they did not come from a dragnet approach to this. they came from a group of people who have again are very highly trained, very experienced in terrorism. that is then have foiled a brief read about all of these recently, potential plots. overseas i would say that the joint special operations command, highly secretive troupe called the joint special operations command -- i had to devote an entire chapter to them. they have been more effective than the cia in capturing and killing more targeted terrorists do not only a chemist and in iraq, but also in countries where we are not at in yemen and somalia and somewhat in ethiopia. so there are groups and may have been so successful that there
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are only a few hundred of al qaeda left on the planet, most of whom are hiding in pakistan. the other groups that have come up since 9/11, for instance, the al qaeda of the arabian peninsula, those groups are under intense scrutiny by these, again can a relatively small, highly focused units that i'm talking about. that is not the vast majority of this thing that we've created. and so we are doing a book that we really need to step back, 10 years after 9/11 after bin laden is dead. how lucky is now dead as well. al qaeda doesn't have much of a leader. it's a few hundred people and the new organizations are much more known to our people that al qaeda was on 9/11.
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and you say, you know, what are we building to defeat the rest of this? and what works and what doesn't work? and until that happens, i think no politician is going to feel safe standing not been saying, we should train hair. because as you can listen to the rhetoric in washington, if you do that, you're only going to get beat up by it don't matter what party you're a member of. >> add one more question before we open the floor to questions. that is a mention in your book that the american people have agreed to this trade-off because they keep supporting political pete will and officials and to let that officials who support these programs. what do you think the trade-off has been? >> first of all, i think the
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american people have supported it because we are given a lot of information to go on. the description of the thread has never been very detailed. and now it should be. now is the time that we need to know what's left. we need to know more about the threat actually is. and i think the trade-off is obvious in terms of dollars, but it's also obvious and where the government focuses its attention. there is not only a certain amount of money they can go somewhere, but there's also a certain amount of brainpower. and so much of the government's brainpower has been focused on this thing called counterterrorism. and i had a conversation just a day with someone in the intel community who said the military southern command based in miami has the biggest hezbollah analytic team in the whole entire government.
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and that is because they have a tiny little thing in the place of latin america, where there is some financial fundraising for hezbollah. but that said. but they can get at because they are the military and because that is a four-star command. in other ways, they can get it because they ask and they have the credibility and not because there's an actual threat that merits that much attention. so i think that we need to ask more -- ask for more information about how safe we are. i mean, it is a success story. but they're unwilling at the moment to share with you. it is all classified under which means that if they did, somehow they believed the national security of the united states would be harmed. >> thank you. [applause]
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>> i did a bit of intelligence work when i was in the navy. how is the intelligence work with the cold war soviet union to the antiterrorism effort? to keep talking about how big this operation is. how do they -- the >> they don't. >> the big difference between man and the cold war is that the cold war -- i hate to say this because you don't think of it that way, but it's relatively easy. you're talking about state that there is. presidents, intelligence chiefs, we knew where to send our electronic surveillance. we could infiltrate them with the environmental lobby is here
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then we could -- then you could infiltrate a small tribal-based group of al qaeda. so it's very decentralized compared to -- it's very decentralized and without a state era state sponsors obviously. but the terrorist networks, with some exceptions, are not driven and managed by states. so decentralization has made -- it's made it all the harder. and that is also required that the intelligence be many more places than it was before. and so our electronic capability to be everywhere in the world and to listen in on so many different things has really improved dramatically since 9/11. and that's why ford me that they are near the national security agency has become so big. this becomes a big unfortunately that there's no way in the world
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that all of what is brought in everyday, vacuumed up around the heavens will let her be analyzed. and again, no one will say that's enough because you never know brisk free to say this is enough. >> you talked a lot about the bill since 9/11. do you believe that much of what had been surrounded the events of 9/11 have not been revealed to the american people? >> i do not. i think they have been revealed to the american people. i know there are people who believe in what i would call a conspiracy theory of 9/11, i've looked at that years ago. some of my colleagues have spent a lot of time looking at that. and i am sure -- no, i do not believe that 9/11 was a
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conspiracy. >> among all of these top-secret contracting countries, all these companies working as contractors at all the secret agencies with untold lands that are being spent, do we know if they are paying taxes on their province in the u.s. or the sudden this money offshore? >> that's a great question. [applause] well, i hate to say this, but i don't know. so i'm going to change the questions lately because i don't know the answer to that. what i can say about the contract jerseys that the vast majority, 80% of the contracting work in this realm is done by defense contract jerseys means you probably would recognize, like lockheed martin, general dynamics, owing, saic, the
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really big defense contractors who saw in 9/11 -- quickly saw how the world was going to change from one where steel and hardware we conquer the enemy to where information was what you need it and how you move information around the world quickly would really win the day. and so all of those companies refashion themselves quickly to become -- to serve that purpose. and they did it so fast and so affect really that they were far ahead of the government. and so they could get into this realm. the drone strikes, for instance, do you blog with so much about, that have killed a lucky, that have killed hundreds of terrorists or suspected terrorists around the world, including in countries where nowhere with, those drones could not fly without contractors. they are dealt, maintained,
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operated. the information they did is transmitted back all in the hands of contract years. a mob as contractors -- most of them sit in the united states or to please to military calls the sanctuary, which just means it's not the frontlines of the battlefield. the only thing that contractors don't do yet is push the button on the joystick that launches the missiles. but i predict that they will someday because air force pilots really would rather be flying planes been pushing joysticks. >> thank you. [inaudible] -- complications to what the word that it creates. >> thank you for the question. that's an interesting question. when i talk about the success of
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al qaeda, i'm trying not to be judgmental about how it was done. because there is a lot of controversy surrounding the drones were surrounding raids that ended the killing of al qaeda members. actually, since guantánamo has become the send team of an albatross, a political albatross, neither obama or the end of the bush administration wanted to put anybody else in guantánamo. so the result is that if it they killed people rather than captured and because they didn't have a place to put them. so that is sort of an unintended, unsponsored byproduct of not having an actual system that's politically palatable to people. the drone strikes have been highly affect did, but not completely effective. war is war and a lot of people who shouldn't be killed or innocents get killed by accident
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and the trends have been responsible for those as well. and i have a code in the books and general stanley mcchrystal, who was the general in charge of the special forces troops that i write about and who was also the general in charge of afghanistan until he resigned over some remarks he made to the "rolling stone" magazine. he is the person -- he's the brains behind creating the military force that was able to kill more al qaeda and more terrorists around the world certainly than the cia, more than any other units. and even he says that the strikes can be counterproductive and have been good because every time you killed the wrong person, every time you destroy a home or village, you created blowback for yourself to live on for generations. it is not antiseptic and the
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strikes. another hand i estimate they have really diminished the ranks of al qaeda. now the law of war just quickly, you know, there are some who argue that we're extending the battlefield back to the united states because these drones are operated from the united states. and you know, and allowed for it might be a legitimate target if you you're going after anatomy to strike the place where the enemy is launching missiles from. so i'm just putting that out there is an idea to bat around. i think the drones will not -- you know, the tooth paste inside of the tube. we had about 20 drones before 9/11. now there are 6000. there's all sorts of different sorts. every military service wants to
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get on this. for good reason i don't want to put people in harm's way. so deserted ingenuity and where technology has always been applied to drones as well. they are now as big as a butterfly and a dragonfly. they have drones that are sulfate, that cannot be detected by radar. they're a drones have landed mexican-american border that are unarmed for the moment. and the most runs our surveillance. there are so many drones flown over the united states for training purposes that the northern command which is a military command created after 9/11 was to make sure that they are phase was safer aircraft in the midst of all the strong.
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they're only going to grow. but also you can go to trade shows around the world where private companies are selling drugs to nice places like iran and uae will make different types of drones that it uses. about allies and and enemies have jobs and thinking about how they were using and like that. >> could you talk a little bit about wikileaks? and in your opinion, do you think this next generation of analysts is going to have access to turpitude to speak out to investigative reporters, you know, something really bad is that you need. what is your opinion of
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investigative reporting and the subject going forward is going to become prayer and rarer. >> a couple questions there. let me start with wikileaks. if you divorce wikileaks, i can more easily talk about it. he is very anti-american and so, let's put that aside for a minute. ..
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use of technology is stringing along at its own course and is creating a flood of leaks,
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sometimes of classified information. i will just give you one example. i visited a company called subversive for the conclusion of the book is and traverse a has clients, big corporations, big law firms, big medical companies who believe for some reason their proprietary information is out there on the web, maybe someone brought some work home and it got out there. so they are hired to go look for it and retrieve it and as they do that they have stumbled upon reams and reams of classified information, including one example of the blueprints for marine one, the helicopter that the president flies in. they always tell the government will what they called the dolphins in the tuna net. it's out there because kids, your sons and daughters, have downloaded filesharing software, which means software where they can share music with their friends.
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when you download that, it's like opening the front door of your house. anyone can come into your computer if you are hooked up on a network and go into any file on your computer and take it and there are people with nothing better to do apparently, who spend their entire day looking around computers for sensitive information and the types of classified information out there is astonishing. and the government knows this, and they also know that they cannot plug those leaks. it is a generational thing. the people in charge of agencies are of a generation where yeah they can learn how to use the new technology, but they don't feel it in their bones like younger people do. and this has resulted -- and that is really why wikileaks wikileaks happened. the state department wasn't looking -- it wasn't doing a simple thing. it wa s